Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Deficit Commission Comes In DOA

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The Deficit Commission Set up by President Obama to study ways to reduce the federal deficit has delivered a draft of their proposal. I believe the commission wants to send it up the flagpole and see who salutes. I don't think anyone is going to salute it because it just blew away in the wind. It comes up light. Its as if they have been doing nothing and just threw something together last night. Here is a list of the highlights.

  • Phase in federal spending cuts
  • Cut farm subsidies by $3.0 billion
  • Freeze federal salaries for three years
  • Cut foreign aid by $4.6 billion
  • Eliminate all Congressional earmarks
  • Freeze pay for civilians in the defense department
  • Cut federal workforce by 10%
  • Eliminate 250,000 non-defense service/staff contractors
  • Repeal Alternative Minimum Tax

I see a lot of words like cut, freeze, eliminate, and repeal. I like the idea of eliminating 250,000 workers. Cutting the federal employees by 10% is a good start. Cutting cash payments like farm subsidies and foreign aid would save money immediately.  

What I don't like is, it's not enough. We are on the precipice and these folks are giving us a cup of coffee. We need systemic changes, it's not  business as usual anymore. We need whole departments cut. Budgets need to be cut. Salary's need to be cut. We need painful reductions in government.

Here's the harder stuff:

  • Raise social security retirement age to 68 
  • Cut $100.0 billion in defensive spending
  • Raise gas tax by $0.15
  • Eliminate mortgage deduction for mortgages $500,000 and more

For the repeal of the mortgage interest deduction, new tax brackets will be instituted. 

Lowering tax rates is a no cost stimulus plan. People will spend that money and more jobs will come from it. Raising the social security age to 70 years old would make more sense. It would help social security by making people pay in longer and receiving less benefits. Cutting  defense spending is a hard to do but would reap the the biggest rewards. I am sending the Deficit Commission back to the drawing board. Give them a sharper knife and tell them to cut deeper. If these guys were cutting my turkey I would not have enough meat for a sandwich.

I like how almost everyday in the news cycle there are stories about the financial mess we are in. When something is in the public eye as much this is, it begins to sink into the culture. Wherever the politicians turn these days, the deficit is the main subject. It's not going to be swept under the rug anymore.


  1. All deficit commission plans are DOA. It's a great Washington tradition.... act like you're doing one thing while actually doing the completely opposite thing. Politicians have no intention of cutting spending. We need to keep throwing them out of office until we find some that actually have the fortitude to make some real cuts.

  2. You'll like the cuts in employment UNTIL they all show up in the unemployment lines. You have to remember those people have to be employed SOMEWHERE. The local governments are cutting police and teachers. Think about how much government now impacts your everyday life. It is startling.
    Should everything go to private industry? I see it happening in defense right now- people who were corporals in the military (making $25,000 a year) forced out and becoming contractors. One I know is making $90,000 this year. Is that really cutting the military? He is in private industry. His job is really important.
    I am interested in the FG giving me back every SS penny I put in- at 5% interest and letting me care for my 35 years of money myself. Of course that would leave many a homemaker out of luck- and widows- and disabled people. But heck- they didn't pay in. Why shouldn't I, at least, get my money back?
    I am for most of the cuts- but I think people haven't thought what it will look like in our cities and our country.
    I am willing. It needs to be done. We just have to realize what it really means to cut to the bone....

  3. I know you feel strongly about this as I do. Any cuts in government will have a toll on workers there. But with any change it will be painful. It will be for the best in the long run if the government runs its finances as you and I do. There is a limited amount of money, we can't have everything and make everyone happy. We have to think about whats best for the country 10, 20 or 50 years down the road. if we did the things government did we would be called irresponsible.


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