There will be blood

To properly reduce the deficit, the cuts should be deep

  • Follow Editorials

The president's commission on deficit reduction confirms one thing: This country has become a nation of big, fat crybabies.

The commission's tentative report released this past week suggests spending cuts and tax increases that would only trim the projected federal spending deficit in half to $3.8 trillion over the next decade -- and there's already wailing that it's too harsh.

The alternative to the pain of a little uncharacteristic austerity in Washington is much more dire: If the dollar collapses, as surely it will if we stay on this track, so will the economy.

You'll see a lot more pain then.

Even if Washington went along with the commission's proposals, notes USA Today , the budget still wouldn't balance for 27 years.

That's how deep a hole we're in.

And yet, the whining about the commission's modest proposals has been palpable from weak Washington -- the same one that got us in this hole.

"Simply unacceptable," was how outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described the commission's work. It's easy to criticize solutions when you're part of the problem.

USA Today, on the other hand, calls the commission's work "a sobering tutorial in how far Congress will have to go -- not to balance the budget, because the proposal doesn't do that for 27 years -- merely to get the deficit and the debt back under control over the next decade."

Said a different way, even if we cut through all the wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth and adopt the commission's recommendations, we'll still be spending more than we take in for the next 27 years.

Pelosi's right, though not for the reasons she supposes; three more decades of deficit spending is, indeed, "simply unacceptable."

To really do the job, the cuts have to be deeper.

Just as important, this country cannot absorb higher taxes. Taxes are high enough.

The commission proposal would cap federal revenues at 21 percent of gross domestic product. And while that's an improvement over the nearly 25 percent of GDP we've seen under President Obama, it's higher than the average of about 18 percent of GDP since the 1940s.

In short, even under the commission's "harsh" proposals, tax rates will still be well above what they were in most of our lifetimes.

Cutting Social Security benefits and other entitlements, as the commission bravely suggests, will be mandatory, as entitlements gobble up more and more of the federal budget in years to come and baby boomers overwhelm the system.

Expect demagogues in Washington to protest that too -- and try to delude both them and us that broad, deep entitlement cuts aren't necessary.

Early reports indicate the commission may recommend lower corporate tax rates, which could help our international competitiveness, as well as a $4.6 billion cut to foreign aid, an end to congressional earmarks and a three-year freeze in federal salaries, all of which would be good steps to take.

But much more will need to be done: As a spokeswoman for Citizens Against Government Waste told us, even under the commission's proposals "government would still be growing and all these recommendations would do is slow the (growth). We don't support any growth (in government) right now and want to see real cuts."

Rest assured, we've put the day of reckoning off so long that even with modest austerity measures, there will be blood.

It's not a good sign that the tears are already flowing.

Comments (42) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
msitua
132
Points
msitua 11/17/10 - 11:40 pm
0
0
How about ending the wars in

How about ending the wars in two countries. Imagine how that would help our deficit.

GGpap
528
Points
GGpap 11/18/10 - 02:34 am
0
0
How about dismantling a few

How about dismantling a few of the useless government bureaucracies that abound in D.C.? The first that comes to mind should be the Department of Education, followed by Homeland Security, FEMA, and the Department of Agriculture. And, as MSITUA suggests, end the war in the Near East; but, don't stop there, make some significant cuts in the Department of Defense.

GGpap

Jon Lester
2480
Points
Jon Lester 11/18/10 - 02:59 am
0
0
Taxes are high enough? One
Unpublished

Taxes are high enough? One wonders how you would have made out in the 1950's, under Eisenhower's rates.

Riverman1
94404
Points
Riverman1 11/18/10 - 05:09 am
0
0
Jon Lester, even though the

Jon Lester, even though the rates were higher under Ike, people actually paid less due to deductions of various kinds.

But what we need to do in this country is take all the government spending, entitlements and taxes and put them in a large jar. Put the top on and shake it up and then pour it out and start over again, picking up a piece to go back in the jar only after careful deliberation.

dani
13
Points
dani 11/18/10 - 05:36 am
0
0
Why is social security called

Why is social security called an entitlement? That's like saying that your salary is an entitlement.

ohhsweetconcord
3
Points
ohhsweetconcord 11/18/10 - 06:08 am
0
0
"The only other years since

"The only other years since 1946 in which federal spending exceeded 23 percent of GDP came in 1982 and 1983, with 23.1 percent and 23.5 percent, respectively, during and immediately after the 1981-82 recession. Downturns tend to affect this statistic because they slow GDP growth and increase the demand for government services. " - St. Petersburg Times

I'll let that quote speak for itself.

As for the tax rate question, Riverman, your assertion that people paid less during the 1950's is not true. People are paying less taxes currently than they have paid in the past 60 years, thanks to the massive tax cuts implemented by GWB and BO at the beginning of their 1st terms, respectfully. http://www.marktaw.com/culture_and_media/politics/USA_debt_2009/receipts...

So, what does that mean? Spending is at a 60 year high, revenue is at a 60 year low. Americans ask for too much and we want to pay too little. The spending problem works both ways. Unless conservatives are willing to raise taxes, they aren't serious about cutting the debt. They're living in lala land. And unless Democrats are willing to cut spending, they can join the delusional Republicans.

harryosborn
0
Points
harryosborn 11/18/10 - 06:26 am
0
0
Social Security is money that

Social Security is money that has already been extorted from our paychecks, with the promise that we would get it back when needed. If benefits are cut we should be given the funds back so we can invest them ourselves.

confederatelady319
0
Points
confederatelady319 11/18/10 - 06:37 am
0
0
People all i can say is that

People all i can say is that you better be prepairing yourself and your family for what is to come.

Techfan
6462
Points
Techfan 11/18/10 - 06:38 am
0
0
" tax rates will still be

" tax rates will still be well above what they were in most of our lifetimes." And just how old are the editors? http://www.truthandpolitics.org/top-rates.php

ohhsweetconcord
3
Points
ohhsweetconcord 11/18/10 - 06:45 am
0
0
I still don't get all this

I still don't get all this "doomsday" talk. Has anyone noticed just little debt we actually have compared to the rest of the world, taken as a % of GDP? We're actually pretty low. Even our average household debt is low, compared to most industrialized nations. It isn't our current debt that is the problem. Its the future debt.

Take a look at this graph. http://www.marktaw.com/culture_and_media/politics/USA_debt_2009/outlook-...

As you can see, our problems are going to get very, very serious 30 years from now.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 11/18/10 - 07:10 am
0
0
dani, the reason SSI is

dani, the reason SSI is called an entitlement ,instead of a return on investment, is because congress has been diverting funds from social security to people who've never paid a penny into it. Over half of the payments go out as welfare to Dem voters.
If social payments were cut in half and those not deserving government income were taken off the "payroll" and if the department of defense were reduced to current defense efforts only and the department of education were funded for education only, we'd be able to balance the budget in short order.
Combine this national effort with adopting the Fair Tax (as written) and the U.S. would return to the #1 economic power in the world and everyone would be employed (that wants to be employed). Of course, the Dem party would lose 75% of their voting base, so I don't expect to see any of this proposed.

RoadKing09
16
Points
RoadKing09 11/18/10 - 07:39 am
0
0
Yes I am entitled to what I

Yes I am entitled to what I and my employers have paid in over the last 46 years plus interest at what ever the prime was each year.

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 11/18/10 - 08:49 am
0
0
Tell us (again) what a deep
Unpublished

Tell us (again) what a deep hole we're in, ACES... Some vantage point: wisdom gleaned from Morris Comm's own recent bankruptcy (I mean 'restructuring'). I suppose your bondholders' dollar didn't collapse through Morris' own "modest austerity measure" either? Yes, keep the pressure on those shifty demagogues in Washington.

curly123053
5417
Points
curly123053 11/18/10 - 09:07 am
0
0
Can anybody say FAIRTAX??

Can anybody say FAIRTAX?? Nothing would turn around this financial slide we are riding more than the FAIRTAX !

burninater
9948
Points
burninater 11/18/10 - 09:42 am
0
0
cliff -- "dani, the reason

cliff -- "dani, the reason SSI is called an entitlement ,instead of a return on investment, is because congress has been diverting funds from social security to people who've never paid a penny into it. Over half of the payments go out as welfare to Dem voters."

---

Actually cliff, the majority of welfare recipients are rural whites, a demographic that is more likely to vote the big R.

Regardless, government spending is too big a problem to yield to the old partisan spin. Both parties, and their supporters, have made it abundantly clear that they lack the discipline to avoid loosening the purse strings and letting funds fall into the laps of their preferred recipients.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 11/18/10 - 10:11 am
0
0
burninator, what's with the

burninator, what's with the race card? Don't you really think government subsidy people are voting for Dems? Do you really think that the % of whites getting "free money" compares with the % of ethnic groups getting "free money"?

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 11/18/10 - 10:06 am
0
0
Retired Army, intentionally

Retired Army, intentionally misconstruing benefits and "entitlements" is as silly as using entitlements when welfare (free money) is intended. You're only singing to the choir when you try the not so tricky use of the English language. The redefinition of words only work on the typical Dems, i.e., the uneducated or the "ignorant by choice" crowd.

burninater
9948
Points
burninater 11/18/10 - 10:10 am
0
0
Cliff, I didn't pull the race

Cliff, I didn't pull the race card. I simply stated that the demographic (rural, white) that receives the most welfare benefits is the demographic (rural, white) most likely to vote Republican. Your "race card" response to a simple statement of fact would be, in fact, the pulling of the race card. Your question "Do you really think government subsidy people are voting for Dems?" is a puzzler, as that was your assertion and I was simply responding to a distortion with a fact.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 11/18/10 - 10:13 am
0
0
Sorry for the confusion in my

Sorry for the confusion in my 10:11 post. I was talking while posting and messed up my intent. I've since edited my post.
burninater, your racial comment is noted.

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 11/18/10 - 10:18 am
0
0
Cliff, I didn't find his
Unpublished

Cliff, I didn't find his explanation that confusing, nor obtuse. Call me ignorant, but why aren't the benefits of social security an entitlement if you've faithfully paid the required installments for thirty or forty years?

burninater
9948
Points
burninater 11/18/10 - 10:22 am
0
0
cliff, note away. As to your

cliff, note away. As to your cleared up question, "Don't you really think government subsidy people are voting for Dems?", what I THINK is that people vote for far more complex reasons than that simplistic statement. What the FACTS state is that, and I repeat, the majority of welfare recipients are rural whites, and this demographic HISTORICALLY is more likely to vote Republican. Simply statements of fact, cliff. I know how much those irk.

dichotomy
37665
Points
dichotomy 11/18/10 - 10:39 am
0
0
Nobody is complaining about

Nobody is complaining about "earned" entitlements like military retirements and even Social Security for those that actually paid into the system. It is the UNearned entitlement programs that we need to get a grip on. You know Retired Army. The entitlement programs that encourage people not to work and to NEVER pay taxes. But outright "free money" giveaway entitlement programs need to be reduced or eliminated. We make it way too comfortable for those inclined to avoid work. I see people everyday drawing SSI and disablility payments who are way healthier than many working taxpayers. They scam the system and get paid well for it as do the "unemployed" and the welfare types. And I am not talking about a few people. A high percentage of people on SSI disabliity, welfare, and unemployment are total frauds (white and other). We need less of these PC nanny state programs and more of the "go to work or get real hungry" attitiude.

bettyboop
8
Points
bettyboop 11/18/10 - 10:48 am
0
0
In the past, scholars have

In the past, scholars have noted that there were more White families in America on welfare than there were Blacks. That is no longer the case. Blacks now outnumber Whites. Black and Hispanic welfare recipients combined now outnumber Whites 2-1, according to a New York Times report."This from a 1998 report on Bnet...a CBS Business website.......(google is our friend)

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 11/18/10 - 10:51 am
0
0
That is a decent explanation,
Unpublished

That is a decent explanation, dichotomy. Should the blame for these situations be placed on those people who qualify for the legally available benefits, on those who created the legal opportunities in the first place, or on those who recognize the inequities but fail to modify the programs that can be legally abused as you stated?? Or has the Devil made those dirty Democrats do it?

burninater
9948
Points
burninater 11/18/10 - 11:06 am
0
0
betty, I would love to see

betty, I would love to see that NYTimes report, I haven't been able to locate it. The most recent reporting I could find with benefits by demographic is this Heartland Institute report, dated 2000. Obviously much can change in 10 years; I'd be curious to see a more recent analysis.
http://www.heartland.org/policybot/results/152/Welfare_Expenditures_by_E...

Edit: okay Betty, found the article you reference. The original article is attributed to a 1998 issue of Jet, but I can't find the NYTimes report they reference. The Heartland Institute report post-dates the Jet report, and has very different numbers. All the numbers I can find though are pretty old; nothing looks like it has been produced in the past decade. I'll be the first to retract my statements if the numbers have changed from their historic levels.

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 11/18/10 - 10:59 am
0
0
Ditto, Betty. Non-anecdotal
Unpublished

Ditto, Betty. Non-anecdotal recent figures for these questions is obscure. The last definitive article I recall claimed only slightly more than 4% of GNP per year pays for all 'welfare' in this country. Where defense related expenditures hover around 60%, perhaps ire is proportionately misdirected for benefits received?!

onlysane1left
223
Points
onlysane1left 11/18/10 - 11:32 am
0
0
OMG, fd1962 your post at

OMG, fd1962 your post at 10:51am, is the point I'm always trying to make on here when folks get on the welfare-hating kick. That system needs to be changed, there is no denial from me, but don't hate them for using what is available, change it to force tham off the system. The states are the ones who control who gets welfare, the feredal govenment just supplies the funds. The state governments are more to blame than the feredal government for the out-of-control spending for welfare.

onlysane1left
223
Points
onlysane1left 11/18/10 - 11:35 am
0
0
Please forgive the typos, my

Please forgive the typos, my dyslexia zealously took over before I could catch the errors.....

burninater
9948
Points
burninater 11/18/10 - 11:40 am
0
0
Good point about the role of

Good point about the role of states in this, onlysane1left. The Federal government imposes a five-year LIFETIME maximum on federally-funded benefits, and requires recipients to re-enter the workforce within two years of receiving benefits. Additional funding beyond these restrictions would appear to come from states directly?

BCG
0
Points
BCG 11/18/10 - 11:41 am
0
0
I am with those who have a

I am with those who have a clear view of the logical way out.... FAIR TAX FAIR TAX and one final time FAIR TAX. Some are so fooled by the lies of the political elite that they can't see that the federal taxes, state tax, local taxes, out of the payroll check are not the only taxes WAKE UP add up all of the taxes by any name if it walks like a duck and quakes like a duck then you have a duck. I mean some people are out there thinking they are not paying taxes just because they don't pay any at the end of the year on tax returns does not mean they are not being eaten alive by all the hidden taxes. Wake up please the government is out of control!

Back to Top
loading...
Search Augusta jobs