What do you cut if you are the Supreme Dictator of the United States? Here's my list:
-Medicare and Social Security for anyone over a certain percentage of the poverty line (maybe 250%?) -Increase Medicare and SS age to 70 -Defense spending (that was going to happen anyway with Iraq wrapping up) -Reforms among discretionary spending (HUD, Energy, Agriculture, Justice)
Between Defense and Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security, we could probably get a lot closer to a balanced budget.
_________________ "Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind."
personally, I am of the mind that you can't just identify line item cuts, you have to overhaul the system. The way the tax code works to generate revenue, and the way the budget is constructed and deployed is inherently broken. So, sure, you can take a red pen to the budget and cross out line items, but the reality is that there are so many kick backs, loop holes, and abuses of the systems, that the real work that needs to be done is redesigning the whole enterprise, not trying to identify which social services you would cut, particularly when the social democrat in me would actually like to see more spending on education and health care and other social programs, and not less.
There's an old story about the lady who put salt in her coffee, which you can read in it's entirety here: LINK
but the gist of it is:
It was a mistake. She had poured out a delicious cup of coffee, and, just as she was helping herself to cream, she found she had put in salt instead of sugar! It tasted bad. What should she do? Of course she couldn't drink the coffee; so she called in the family, for she was sitting at a late breakfast all alone. The family came in; they all tasted, and looked, and wondered what should be done, and all sat down to think.
(The family then goes thru a series of machinations designed to try and improve the coffee)
Then the family were in despair, and all sat and thought a great while. It was growing late in the day, and Mrs. Peterkin hadn't had her cup of coffee. At last Elizabeth Eliza said, "They say that the lady from Philadelphia, who is staying in town, is very wise. Suppose I go and ask her what is best to be done." To this they all agreed, it was a great thought, and off Elizabeth Eliza went.
She told the lady from Philadelphia the whole story,–how her mother had put salt in the coffee; how the chemist had been called in; how he tried everything but could make it no better; and how they went for the little old herb-woman, and how she had tried in vain, for her mother couldn't drink the coffee. The lady from Philadelphia listened very attentively, and then said, "Why doesn't your mother make a fresh cup of coffee?"
Ultimately, I think we need a fresh cup of coffee.
But how likely is it that we have a reform of the system? Everyone, and I mean every Democrat/Communist/Capitalist/Right winger I know wants a different tax code, where billions and billions aren't spent on trying to conform to ridiculous legalese and tons of credits/behavior modifications/deductions/etc. BUT, lawyers and accounting firms and H&R Block are of course going to do whatever they can to stop that. It doesn't help that so many folks in Congress come from a similar background.
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