If We Can't Cut Entitlements, What Can We Do?


Thanks to the overspending of Congress and successive presidential administrations, America's debt totals $22 trillion, and it is projected to grow faster and larger in the years to come. Legislators have been shielded from the consequences by three decades of low interest rates and the fact that the United States is still one of the best places in the world for foreigners to invest. However, a time will come when no level of cheap debt will make up for Washington's fiscal recklessness.

Permanent low economic growth, stifled entrepreneurial spirit, and high unemployment are looming—not to mention the risk of a full-on, debt-driven financial crisis.

The way to prevent such outcomes is clear. We must deal with the drivers of our future debt: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. But for those who think it is not politically feasible to tackle entitlements, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently published a report with a broader range of suggestions. They include limiting highway and transit funding to expected revenues (translation: don't spend more than you collect), eliminating Head Start, and creating a federal value-added tax (VAT).

Disappointingly, many of the CBO's alternatives are meant to grow government revenue rather than shrink government expenditures. All told, the report details $15.9 trillion in tax hike options vs. $5.7 trillion in spending cut options. Nine of the top 10 "savings" come from tax increases, including a 5 percent VAT (which may eventually hit 20 percent, as has happened in Europe), a carbon tax, and an increase in the maximum taxable earnings for the Social Security payroll tax. These off-the-shelf options are worrisome. Given the choice, politicians will likely opt to take more of our money rather than to confront special interests and reduce the size of government.

On the spending side, the largest savings would come from establishing caps on federal outlays for Medicaid and from cutting $50 billion a year over 10 years from the Department of Defense. But even these "cuts" would be against a baseline that assumes an ever-rising level of spending. In other words, many of them would simply slow the speed at which government grows, not reduce the total spent.

All in all, the CBO's suggestions reflect a failure of imagination. Could the agency not have come up with a few bold spending reforms? Terminating the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Energy should all be on the table, for example. Or we could combine them into a single Department of Cronyism. Surely that would save a billion or two.

NEXT: Brickbat: A Cat House No More

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  1. If I ran the government, this is where I would start. Every department head would be ordered to cut 10% of that departments budget. Cut it any way you want, hopefully through waste, inefficiency and fraud, but cut it. If you do layoffs, that is your decision. End some programs, your decision too.

    If you do anything else, someone will whine. The government will always talk of cutting the most critical programs first. Locally Fire and Police protection, state schools, federal Social Security. Scare people right away. It is never arts, team building or that kind of thing. Now if every one has to cut the same, what can you cry about?

    Next term cut 10% of the budget again, and keep going until revenue and spending are in line.

    1. Was the kibble and vet bills paid for out of the dept budget? (I didn't read link yet)

      I like cats. Some narc just ensuring the cat goes back to a (kill?) shelter is not a triumph of fiscal responsibility. Perspective.

      1. I think you missed the Brickbat article.

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    3. I believe trump already did issue that order. Departments don't want to give up allocations even for funding that is a complete waste. Still worst thing about his presidency was not playing off employees that were furloughed for 30 days when he had the chance.

      1. He couldn't. They were emergency furloughs. I can't believe you are making me defend President Trump! The problem is even if Trump reduces some Departments in size, and he has, everyone keeps spending more and more money.

    4. Too logical. Not enough hate and outrage.

  2. If We Can't Cut Entitlements, What Can We Do?
    Nothing? Maybe if you could institute a heavy VAT, but I don't see progressives wanting to add one since VAT's are "regressive", and I can't see conservatives jumping at the idea.

    So yeah, nothing.

    1. If you mean institute a VAT on top of the taxes we already pay then fuck that. If you mean replace the current system with a consumption based VAT then I'm interested, but you're right about how the parties will ignore it.

      1. I do mean replace. It would never get through on that reason alone. Progs would be like, "It's not fair to have a regressive consumption tax without a progressive earnings tax!"

    2. Half the Democrats running for 2020 are advocating a VAT... only way to fund their doubling of federal spending.

      1. And even then, it funds none of their projects and they still run a deficit. Telling.

      2. But exactly where does this tax add value?

    3. The entire FairTax idea, which has been around for about 20 years now and has some support in conservative circles, has a lot of VAT-like elements to it.

      IMO either tribe is likely to propose a VAT at some point in the future.

      1. Yup. Both parties are all too willing. Unfortunately it'll take a systematic shock and the subsequent populist ousting of the ruling political laws before any meaningful change can occur.

      2. Except one party treats it like an addative tax while the other treats it as a replacement.

      3. The best part of the Fair Tax is that taxation is obvious. Couple that with a balanced budget amendment and force government to collect enough tax money to pay for the spending. When Fair Tax goes from 23% to 24%, 25%, 30%, 35% and so on ? we will see it happen. Even the welfare class will scream about it. True, the money they "pay" in Fair Tax was taken from someone else first, but they won't see it that way.

  3. Cant wait for the open borders advocates to come to this thread and ignore this problem while advocating for more free migration.

    1. Now now, they assure us that illegal immigrants are more moral than American's and they would never steal someone's identity to be eligible for the worlds most extravagant free stuff programs. They certainly wouldn't try to give birth here so they would be eligible for plenty of benefits simply through virtue of birth!

  4. For a time I worked as a contractor on a government project. A horrible portion of my career. When you were to bring up an issue that all admitted was valid the answer was loud and clear. Government is reactive, not proactive. The debt for entitlements will be addressed on day after they cause a financial crisis and the first thing will be to point fingers at others for the problem.

  5. But entitlements don't have anything to do with the debt. A meme on Reddit said so.

    1. The current meme is to object to the word 'entitlement' because 'I paid into it all my life so I earned it'. The fact that there is no 'fund' that was invested in, but rather it was a giant ponzi scheme is ignored, or even unknown.

      1. Or the fact that since life expectancies were increasing without the payout age increasing meant you were paid out more than you paid in..

      2. There is a file cabinet in West Virginia with the 100% safe government bonds that the funds were / are invested in.

  6. Hoard cash until the collapse and buy assets on the cheap. Smart investors did that during the Great Depression. The assets, real estate etc will still be there but at a massive bargain.

    1. Liberals are proposing wealth taxes just for this very problem. They start with high earners then slowly drop the rest of the middle class in. See income taxes.

      1. So punishing the fiscally responsible members of society and prohibiting them from buying assets and raising productivity is their agenda. Sheesh.

      2. Key is "hide" hordes of cash.

        Banks are for suckers if you are trying to stay under the radar.

    2. I love this advice as much as the advice to buy gold/solver.
      OK, you have hoarded cash until the collapse. Now you have 300 pounds of cash from the federal government that crashed.
      Your neighbors, the 'preppers' you have mocked for years have 300 pounds of food, and 300 pounds of fuel.
      Who in their right mind is going to trade you food for worthless paper or gold?

  7. With regards to Social Security:

    1. Continue current benefits for those on Social Security now, and for those within X years of retirement age (where X could be something like 10 years). Because it's not fair for those currently in the system, and for those who have planned all their lives counting on the system as it currently stands, to suddenly yank the rug out from under them.
    2. For whatever money remains in the so-called "trust fund" after those benefits are accounted for, return the money back to the taxpayers for those not in the above group, in age-descending order, in the form of a tax-free annuity, until the money is gone.
    3. For everyone else, institute a mandatory private savings plan, where individuals have to contribute X% of their income into a private retirement savings plan.

    I'd be happy with just items #1 and #2 on the list, but I think #3 would also be needed as a compromise for others to agree to privatizing Social Security.

    1. Of course your plan enforces state mandates and increased government power. Shocking.

      1. Eh?

        Privatizing SS has been a moderate libertarian response to reform since forever.

        Hell, it's a part of the 2018 LP platform.

        What are you on about?

        1. He's on about the mandatory part. Think about everything necessary to enforce such a scheme of 'X' contributions and it should be obvious that it's not remotely libertarian.

          1. Think about everything necessary to enforce such a scheme of 'X'

            You mean like enforcement schemas already in place for 401ks and SS now?

            I mean if you have a plan to end SS, I'm all ears.

            Otherwise, it sounds like pissiness that even mild improvement is somehow more distasteful than maintaining the status quo.

            1. My idea below to end Social Security.

            2. Ending social security is a simple matter, coming up with a replacement that is at all libertarian is not. The assumption that it must be replaced being the assumption that doesn't fit.

              If you're trying to 'ethically' end social security, you'll never end it because someone can literally always point to a grandma you're about to shoot in the face.

              1. Why does there have to be a replacement?

              2. Ending social security is a simple matter

                Really now? Well, then I suggest you assemble Murdock and Hannibal, and git 'er done then. You can bask in the glory of saving the republic, monuments will be built in your name (all privately funded of course), and maybe on your way, you can show the LP how to by-pass the Leviathan of government to accomplish these goals.

                Or how to win a Federal election. That would be good too.

                And not to put too fine point on it, but it is a part of the Libertarian Platform. It may be less libertarian than anyone would like, but "not libertarian" is a bit binary, almost as if they were advocating for the return of kings. Kind of hard to support a party and a moniker that merely advocate for reform instead of the revolution you're after.

                you'll never end it because someone can literally always point

                Oh, so you do understand the problem of Realpolitik.

          2. True but subtle. I totally missed it. Yes, if my retirement plan is lotto tickets played weekly or praying to Avis, that should be OK too. No mandatory savings rule from government! However, I also object because it does benefit society and make fiscal sense to have some basic social security. I know that doesn't sound libertarian, but saving money, or not spending even more, makes it so! Of course, social security is a mandatory savings which I just decried, so I say f#$$*. I am contradicting myself. In any case, the current incarnation of social security has gotten totally out of hand. Starting the whole system off as a Ponzi sheme was also a terrible idea, but what is done is done. If we stabilized the National debt, we could fix Social Security, since it is basically a government slush fund that mints IOUs.

            Also, much of the cost of government resides not just in the cash payouts but in the management of those cash payouts. We have bloated bureaucracies that exist just to keep everything fair, whatever that means. The Republicans are almost as much to blame as the Democrats because they want to test everyone for drugs on Welfare, see if they are getting jobs, etc. Either give them the money and STFU or don't. Give everyone less, but stay out of their business. If people want to spend their food stamps on beer and cigarettes, get real, they are doing that anyway!

      2. Not to mention, bailing out the annuity firms that go under.

    2. Keep taxes at what they are for 10 years, pay all Social Security beneficiaries who paid in a lump sum. End the programs.

      Pay down the debt in those 10 years since we wont have SS, Medicare, Medicaid taxes anymore.

  8. Heck, I'd be happy with Sweden's retirement system.

    1. Massive muslim immigration and eventual beheading? I think there are better systems.

  9. Survive until hordes of mongrelmen are roaming the countryside eating all the cats and dogs. Then, once all the cats and dogs are gone, eating all the cat food and dog food. And once all that's gone, roaming the desert looking for the last few drops of gasoline in existence.

    1. And then in the distance one will hear Tina Turner

      We don't need another hero
      We don't need to know the way home
      All we want is life beyond

  10. There is no problem that open borders and taxing billionaires won't solve.

  11. We need to do something without question. But, I think the regulatory state is a much larger drag on the economy than the deficit and debt. Ultimately, the only real effect the debt has on the economy is that it causes people to buy government bonds and invest money there that would otherwise be invested in the private sector. That is not a good thing but it is not the end of the world either. That money doens't disapear. It ends up in someone's pocket who then spends it in the private sector. The whole thing is just moving money around. Not perfect but not the end of the world either.

    What is a real drag on the economy is the regulatory state. The regulatory state takes resources that could be spent producing things and puts it into compliance or causes things that would be produced not to be produced at all. That makes us poorer in a much more direct way than even the debt. If we could get rid of the regulatory state, we could almost afford entitlements. Beyond that, if we are going to have a giant government, I would rather it just collect money and write checks than go out and do more governmental things. It is certainly a lesser of two evils but a lesser nonetheless.

    1. Government regulations likely add a trillion dollars a year of additional unneeded costs. The more regulations you have, the more things are going to cost to pay for the added costs imposed on all of us because those passed these regulations to favor certain groups.

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  14. It's not my debt, repudiate it. One-time get out of jail free card, with the added benefit that no one will ever lend to Congress again, thus also forcing balanced budgets from there on out. Two birds, what what.

  15. The federal government needs to protect us, as the Founders intended, and stop trying to care for us. It is appalling that politicians, lawyers and barmaids, have anything to say about the economy, abortion, global warming, light bulbs, immigration or healthcare. Their training and experience is in lying and getting around the law.

    The way to fix government is to eliminate the motivations for their bad decisions, reelection and money. A lifetime, one-term limit for any federal office would fix much of it. One four year term for presidents, one four year term for representatives (half every two years), and one six year term for senators (one-third every two years) would limit the power of special interests and their lobbyists. Then citizen-politicians would be set free to vote, go home, and live under the laws they create.

  16. As Whistler noted ^ Term limits would go a long ways to help. I think amending the constitution requiring a balenced budget would be immensely helpful as well. Also decentralization of the Federal government is paramount, give states more rights as well as power to not participate in foreign interventions and overreaches by the nanny state. A state militia style reorganization of the military could help curb the military industrial complex, let the individual states maintain a citizens militia that would not be subject to the arbitrary whims of a politician in Washington.

    1. The Constitution needs to be amended to limit debt spending to very short periods, if needed for war.

      Require 100% of the House and Senate vote to have debt spending.

      Also require a 100% House and Senate vote to raise taxes.

      One Senator or Representative can stall a tax raise or debt filled budget.

      1. Great points, I agree on the 100% voting needed.

        On the issue of war however I'm very skeptical, there are very few wars of necessity and these foreign adventures are a massive drain on the public purse. Also the defense industry is practically a massive state subsidized sector that bears semblances to state owned companies in socialist systems like China.

        I think a stipulation in a proposed amendment requiring that interventions internationally must meet the criteria of a defensive war only, with unanimous support from all 50 states. A system that would be defensive only in law such as Switzerland or Japan.

        1. IIRC, every war the USA has ever been involved in required debt to pay for the war.

          I do not want the USA to lose a war simply because we cannot borrow to pay for armaments and then pay off the debt after the war.

          The problems are endless wars and endless debt spending.

          Ultimately, The People need to force their government to stop.

  17. Any proposal to limit government spending at this point is like digging to China with a teaspoon.
    It seems almost merciful to PROMOTE economic illiteracy, PROMOTE statism, so that the doddering zombie that was once the American republic can finally die. After a generation gets an object lesson on their own hides, maybe we can begin anew ? this time on the basis of SORTITION:

  18. Unlike the rest of you poor slobs, I have a reliable crystal ball! So here goes?

    2020: National debt = 120% of GNP. Donald Trump easily wins re-election by promising a large budget for a new Department of Disputing Elizabeth Warren's Native American Ancestry, and for Making the Liberals Cry.

    2024: National debt = 130% of GNP. Elizabeth Warren is elected POTUS; She promised a large budget for a new Department for Making the GOP-tards Cry. Elon Musk's projects are fabulously successful, and Americans are emigrating en masse to Mars. Given the choice of either continuing to pay hideously large fees to the USA IRS, or renouncing America citizenship, the Martians pay $15,000 each to renounce America citizenship, but even the millions of Martian-American exit fees are like micro-farts in a hurricane? They make no difference in the national debt!

  19. 2028: National debt = 150% of GNP. New POTUS Bernie Sanders wins by promising free health care and PhD educations for everyone who can spell the word "free", plus, a free pony for everyone under 15 years of age. Some USA states are getting ready to split off of the USA, and renounce their "fair" share of the USA debt. Hispanic illegal humans are scrambling for the exits back south, as most employable Americans seek black-market low-wage jobs to escape exorbitant taxes.

    2032: National debt = 230% of GNP. All states have split off of the USA, leaving behind only Washington, DC, with the entire national debt. DC promptly declares bankruptcy. All states with nuclear-weapons bases, having very well learned from Ukraine having given up its share of USSR nukes, and getting invaded by Russia later on, have kept their own nukes.

    2036: Montana and Wyoming unite, feeling a patriotic urge to restore the united USA towards its former fully Glory Days. In a quest for military glory, they have a full-scale nuclear exchange with California. The USA's needs have now been met: Both the liberals AND the conservatives are forced to cry!

    1. Hey I read that book. The Handmaids Tale. Pretty good stuff!
      Oh, and I want my free pony even those I am older than 15 and I want it to fly!

  20. We know how this is going to end: the Fed will bury all these debts with a hyper-inflation. Fiscal sanity might return for a generation or two after that, but I wouldn't hold my breath.


    1. Yep. Inflation is the ultimate stealth tax. In the case of the US, currently the world's reserve currency, it also has the benefit of extending that taxation to anyone holding significant amounts of US denominated currency.

      1. Which is why they want to crack down on Bitcoin et Al. Everyone must pay the piper.

  21. (Not sure what happened to a comment I posted earlier.)

    Over a 40 year career I have been paid well above the US median, at least most years. My total (personal plus employer) contribution to Medicare is just over $160k. But this is barely enough to cover routine medical costs for a few years plus one medium-serious health event.

    How can Medicare possibly make fiscal sense? Most workers have paid in far less than me. Or have I missed the magic that comes from passing tax dollars through the fed?

  22. There is no single policy in our country's history more catastrophically harmful than the Social Security ponzi scheme. The war on drugs doesn't even come close. We are truly fucked

    1. Gunpoint ponzi scheme. At least with a regular ponzi scheme you can choose to walk away.

    2. How can you say it was harmful?
      It got hundreds of useless politicians re-elected.
      Oh,I get it now - - - -

    3. Buy yuan and farmland

  23. Our debt may be at 22 trillion but add in our unfunded mandates and it's 10 times that.

    The solution is easy: people are self-sufficient or accept charity or starve to death.

    I'm totally fine with that formula.

  24. Our debt may be at 22 trillion but add in our unfunded mandates and it's 10 times that.

    The solution is easy: people are self-sufficient or accept charity or starve to death.

    I'm totally fine with that formula.

  25. yep, we're fucked. they will never cut spending in any meaningful way.

  26. Disappointingly, many of the CBO's alternatives are meant to grow government revenue rather than shrink government expenditures.

    This is how you can tell that it is politically infeasible to cut spending. Fuck them for even suggesting a VAT, since you are quite literally never going to cut the deficit by collecting more taxes. Never.

  27. Since we are engaging in fantasies that will never come true,
    why not eliminate the Department of Education too?

    1. Exactly, the only real solution is a violent over throw or civil war.

  28. I believe the best and only situation is a grand bargain to return federalism to its roots. Kill all the programs at the federal level, except for the VA. Turn over all welfare (outside of VA) to the states. With the one caveat - portability. So, for example, If states setup a retirement plan, it must be portable. If the person moves, they take their assets with them.

    If the D's want a wealth tax, the states are more than capable of producing them. If the D's want a 70% or 90% marginal income tax rate, the states are more than capable of implementing.

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  30. The only solution is eliminating gibsmedats and the only way that will ever occur is extreme violence and civil unrest.

  31. Raising taxes is a necessary first step in shrinking government. Right now entitlements are "free" and impossible to get rid of. That free feeling hides all the waste. Raise taxes, and lock in a link between spending and taxation, and suddenly there is a real constituency for cutting government.

  32. Raising taxes is a necessary first step in shrinking government. Right now entitlements are "free" and impossible to get rid of. That free feeling hides all the waste. Raise taxes, and lock in a link between spending and taxation, and suddenly there is a real constituency for cutting government.

  33. Why do you call Social Security or Medicaid entitlements? I have paid for these out of my salary for decades. Was that money for nothing? Does Congress get to rename those expenditures on my part (and the part of anyone who has paid) and steal that money from us?

    1. They are called "entitlements" because congressmen are "entitled" to steal your money to buy the votes that keep them in congress.

    2. You forgot the equal amount paid by your employers - - - - - -
      How were you expected to save on your own with the feds taking 12 - 15% of your income at the point of a gun?

    3. I agree, TD, this makes me so angry. Entitlements are to try and make us feel guilty. We all paid in along with our companies with the promise we would receive these payments. Now some people want to change the rules and blame SS, Disability, Medicare and Medicaid. Why aren't millionaires and billionaires paying their fair share? Stop the wars, close the 180 or so foreign bases, combine the Air Force and Navy, monitor any military purchase audit all Departments, get rid of useless Departments (Education, Interior, TSA, etc. Don't fall for the Govt's scare tactics (Russia, China, North Korea, terrorists, bombs), Entitlements? Bull c**p.

      1. Entitlements are to try and make us feel guilty. We all paid in along with our companies with the promise we would receive these payments.

        You received a promise of unicorns from a pol - who you voted for again and again and again and again and again and again - your entire life. Not ONCE did you question where that money was going. Not ONCE did you question why some stranger is more concerned about your retirement and your future medical expenses than your family, your community, or those you know. Not ONCE did you ever let anyone even mention that the emperor had no clothes and there is no fucking lock box.

        They got what they wanted -- your compliance with sending them tons of money and your votes every election and you as a useful idiot defending their flank.

        You got - to screw your kids and your grandkids and their grandkids and live idly for a few years at their expense.

        Cry me a fucking river. You ain't the victim. You are complicit in the fraud.

    4. Theyre taxes. You are not paying into a savings account.

      You are paying taxes to fund the current generation of moochers who collect more SS than they paid in.

  34. Unless a meteor strikes Congress while the President and the Supreme Court are present, leaving no survivors, and the shock wave destroys every bureaucrat in DC, there will never be a cut in spending.

    The US will inflate its way out of this mess in the same way that they did it after WWII except this time, both creditors and debtors will be destroyed. There is simply too much to pay off.

    Crypto currencies may allow some trade to continue but only if there is still enough electricity to run the computers.

    1. Neither an abacus nor a slide rule require electricity.
      And anyway, barter does not require math.

  35. Cut the Military budgets, make them accountable for the monies given them, audit them yearly, do not allow them to carry over their monies from one year to the next. Stop the useless wars! Close the 180 or so bases! Combine the Air Force with the Navy. Do not allow the military and civilians to have Carte Blanche to buy anything they want from Military Industries - many of the weapon systems they spend billions on do not even work! Cut the Federal employees by 10% (during the shut down their departments actually run better and the citizens do not even notice). Eliminate useless agencies (Dept. of Education, Homeland Security, Dept of Interior and others, stop the "for profit prisons, put controls on Hospitals and Pharmaceutical companies, allow the Medicare to negotiate with drug Mfg. to negotiate prices). Eliminate all the "black budget" agencies, tax the wealthy the same % for Social Security as they do for the "useless eaters" as Henry Kissinger referred to us or the "deplorables" as Hillary so kindly called us. The tax that is paid levels off at somewhere around $120,000. Make the millionaires and billionaires pay a proportionate amount as we do. Bring the money that is stashed in secret foreign banks home and tax it. Many retirees only eat beans, Spam and tuna fish which is all they can afford. Many, also must decide, "do I buy my medicines or pay my rent?" "Do I pay my rent or pay my utilities?" "Do I see my doctor or do I skip the appointment.

  36. "If We Can't Cut Entitlements, What Can We Do?"

    Maybe we could stop the endless rent seeking of the ruling class.

  37. The way to prevent such outcomes is clear. We must deal with the drivers of our future debt: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    Cool. So all we need to do is convince those fucking leeches that:

    Permanent low economic growth, stifled entrepreneurial spirit, and high unemployment are looming and matter to them.

    If those things mattered to those leeches, the problem would already be solved.

    Since those don't matter to them - and never will, the only actual solution is to kill the leeches. And in so doing cross the ethical barrier that the most immoral Ponzi scheme in history created to sustain itself.

  38. $22 trillion national debt proves that subsidies, entitlements & safety nets shouldn't be in the hands of the federal government.
    Phase out all federal safety net programs, states can decide their own safety nets.

  39. 'The dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe.'

    I await eagerly the day when Libertarians get anything right about the economy.

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  41. Entitlements

    Excerpt from the novel, Retribution Fever:
    "Progressive" economists, in particular, actively and intentionally had ignored the three guidelines of the Scientific Method ? Specificity, Objectivity, and Accountability. Under their rule, all three were destroyed by abandoning the gold-standard. With its abandonment came the destruction of the economic rights and the economic liberty of every American.

    Firstly, loss of specificity. Big Government had been freed to concoct "benefits" and "entitlements" for the electorate including the undeserving unproductive without specifying the means by which those "benefits" and "entitlements" would be funded other than by debt.

    Nowhere in the Constitution does the word "entitle" appear other than applied to the rights of citizens' representation in Congress and to the legal and political but not economic privileges and immunities contained therein. The primary function of the federal government had been transformed from protecting the natural rights of all Americans to redistribution of wealth ? a redistribution freed from the constraints of truly constitutional authority.

    Secondly, loss of objectivity. Big Government had been freed to finance those "benefits" and "entitlements" via the ruse of camouflaging debt as "off-budget". In the public sector, the politicians peddled the rationalization that debt could be "off-budget" until ....

  42. If you've done any organizational restructuring, especially if under the threat of bankruptcy, you learn quickly that everything everyone believed was fixed and inviolable is not. Problem is most people can't muster the courage to attack the problems unless they're under the threat of bankruptcy. Then of course, it's often too late. And it has to be the big ticket items that get cut because there's just no way to get there from here otherwise. Spending cuts have to be focused on entitlements and the military. Some whole departments ought to be cut, others downsized dramatically. The real truth is; this isn't that hard as an intellectual matter - its often kinda obvious. It's only hard emotionally and politically.

  43. That can we do? Easy, deflect. Claim that we need to spend more to save the earth which will implode if we don't start now. That will allow us to not think about really bad things.

  44. Head Start has not shown to be statistically useful, yet it is championed as the greatest thing ever. Oh and if you have a job, your kid can't qualify. The entitlements need to be cut across the board.

  45. There is a solution to the entitlement challenge that will meet everyone's goals and objectives. I have implemented this solution dozens of times in my 40 year career in benefits. If you are interested, let me know.

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