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Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:18 pm UTC
by nowfocus
Awesome new interactive app from the New York Times. It lets you select what taxes increases/spending cuts you would do to balance the budget over the short and long term.
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010 ... ic.html?hp
Check the boxes on the left to select a program. I like that this puts numbers to the various proposals, so we can see how some topics are not significant to the long term budget picture.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:39 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
Sigh, I'm still underbudget by 315 and 929 billion

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:52 pm UTC
by rath358
This is really cool!

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:55 pm UTC
by Josephine
Aside from letting Bush tax cuts expire, I did it without any new taxes. big chunk from reducing medicare.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:11 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
The problem with the medicare one is that it doesn't cap services that hospitals are required to render; only the payments. So as the population ages, hospitals will see increases in patients but not similar increases in reimbursements.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:49 pm UTC
by G.v.K
awesome, I solved the deficit and have enough cash left over to fund my Guaranteed Minimum Income proposal :D

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:54 pm UTC
by The Reaper
If I save my leftover cash from the present I can use it to get rid of the future loss yes? Because I'm an intelligent government, and can plan things out?

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:07 pm UTC
by sardia
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010 ... s=420sn56z
It's so easy, I just need to crush opposition from EVERY SINGLE FACTION in the entire country. I think I raised taxes everywhere, and cut benefits to both medicaid and social security. I don't think I spared a single group when I raised taxes, and enacted new ones.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:43 pm UTC
by Blackhawk5367
I solved the deficit without raising texes or cutting military. In fact I lowered taxes.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 11:57 pm UTC
by Bright Shadows
My plan?

Cap Medicare, reduce tax loopholes, raise taxes on specific groups of people. Some military cuts.

This is a cool app.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:19 am UTC
by Jahoclave
The Reaper wrote:If I save my leftover cash from the present I can use it to get rid of the future loss yes? Because I'm an intelligent government, and can plan things out?

What, that's not allowed. You must spend that on a cool new weapons system!

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:17 am UTC
by Mick7153
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010 ... s=011sn5qm

My plan? Stop being an international police force in two wars... Plus some extra upping of the age eligible for medicare, social security etc.... People are living longer afterall

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:27 am UTC
by LaserGuy
I got there by mostly by upping Social Security/Medicare to 70, reducing the military and increasing some taxes on the rich. When I first did this I ended up with about $100 billion more than I needed so I decided to give a few things back :)
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010 ... ic.html?hp

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:23 am UTC
by ++$_
I had two different plans, but this is the one I like better. It's about 50-50 taxes/spending cuts:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/11/13/weekinreview/deficits-graphic.html?choices=822144q3

I could actually drop the "eliminate earmarks" item, since I've got more than a 14 billion dollar surplus, but I kind of like the idea of eliminating earmarks anyway. Just think of it as extra breathing room.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:49 am UTC
by Jahoclave
On the plus side, if you just do everything, you end up with enough money left over to start buying our country back from China.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010 ... s=zzxrh56z

I've got a nearly three trillion dollar surplus going by the end of it.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:21 am UTC
by BoomFrog
They really try to sell certain options with the way they word them, for example:
Reduce noncombat military compensation and overhead wrote:Would change health-care plan for veterans who had not been wounded in battle. Premiums, which have not risen in a decade, would rise. More veterans would receive health insurance from employer. This option would also take some benefits, like housing allowances, into account when tying military raises to civilian pay raises. Currently, increases in those benefits come on top of pay raises. The military would also reduce the length and frequency of combat tours. No unit or person will be sent to a combat zone for longer than a year, and they will not be sent back involuntarily without spending at least two years at home.

Considering it save 23/51 Billion I assume "change" means "mostly reduce" but it's not until the second half of the paragraph that they even start admitting this might give less money to veterans and the wording is still circuitous.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:28 am UTC
by Link
How I'd do it.

In a nutshell: reduce the military to a skeleton crew to defend America when it's actually under attack, but not to start wars. Tax the richest; tax banks taking extreme risks; tax environmentally unfriendly behaviour. Forcibly reduce the rift between the rich and the poor.

Nota bene, I'm European, and strongly anti-capitalist and anti-warmongering. I know America would never accept this, but it would work, and I think it's a lot fairer than trampling on the poor and the disabled.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:58 am UTC
by Princess Marzipan
Mine.

For military, cut nuclear spending and reduce foreign troop levels, including the more relaxed scale-down to 60k in Iraq/Afganistan rather than the more extreme 30k in half the time. For social security, just reduce benefits for top earners.

OH MAN TAXES: Estate tax like fuck, investment tax like fuck, extend the Bush cuts ONLY for < 250k (if we weren't in a recession I'd let all Bush cuts die), go for the new $1 mil bracket, and enact the carbon and bank taxes.

I had chosen the plan to eliminate loopholes and credits but still fell short. I went for the $500 billion medicare cuts figuring the health care industry can find ways to reduce the cost of care, and living wills are encouraged and we stop valuing life that consists of sitting in a hospital bed until you die, Medicare can save by not paying out the nose to keep someone alive for two weeks. Yes, death panels. After the medicare cuts, it wasn't necessary to keep the loopholes closure - I'm unsure about it, since it's not clear how fair it is to earners in the bottom brackets. Assuming they don't get tax-fucked, I'm all for the simplification.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:25 am UTC
by The Mighty Thesaurus
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010 ... s=03tk45qz

Tax like a motherfucker, and stop spending so much money on the military.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:15 pm UTC
by Obby
Ze taxes, zey burn!

In short: tax the shit out of rich people, banks, carbon emissions. Cut out farm subsidies and earmarks, as well, just because they both suck. The Iraq and Afghanistan force size gets reduced, but only to the 60k levels (I agree with whoever said that the 30k mark in half the time was a little harsh).

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:44 pm UTC
by Zamfir
Obby wrote:Cut out farm subsidies and earmarks, as well, just because they both suck.


I wonder whether cutting these would actually reduce the budget, or at least by as much as the headline figures suggest. Cutting farm subsidies will likely lead to many unemployed people in the short run, and perhaps even in the longer run. Life-time farmers older than, say, 45 are not going to magically turn into easily employable people in other sectors. Eventually the economy will adapt to a new situation with less farming, but that might take quite some time. In the meantime, there will be more poor people to support, and somewhat less business to tax.

As for earmarks: if you cut these, a lot of them are going to turn up elsewhere in the budget. After all, they are the things individual congressmen really want to see in law, and often things their voters really want to see too. They would be lousy politicians if they couldn't find other ways to get them enacted.

Link wrote:In a nutshell: reduce the military to a skeleton crew to defend America when it's actually under attack, but not to start wars.

For this, the opposite of farm spending could be true: cutting defense spending is guaranteed to save money in the short run, but in the long run?

Presumably, the US has an oversized army to encourage other countries to do things the US likes and profits from. It seems far-fetched to assume that the US can cut that army, and still hope to have the same dominant voice in how world affairs are set up, and without at least some costs to its economy.

Iraq and Afghanistan are probably losing affairs, from a business point of view. But they are also largely sunk-cost: cutting spending now won't give you back the money already spent on them. Staying a few years more to accomplish a more graceful exit and to get a good grip on the local government might be a better deal for the US than making a run for it now.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:19 pm UTC
by stevey_frac
Zamfir wrote:Presumably, the US has an oversized army to encourage other countries to do things the US likes and profits from. It seems far-fetched to assume that the US can cut that army, and still hope to have the same dominant voice in how world affairs are set up, and without at least some costs to its economy.



That works, except for the part where the U.S. is often the viewed as the global bully with an axe to grind. Reducing the size of the armed forces cuts down on government spending AND might get the world to view the U.S. more favorably, in one fell swoop.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:34 pm UTC
by Zamfir
stevey_frac wrote:
Zamfir wrote:Presumably, the US has an oversized army to encourage other countries to do things the US likes and profits from. It seems far-fetched to assume that the US can cut that army, and still hope to have the same dominant voice in how world affairs are set up, and without at least some costs to its economy.



That works, except for the part where the U.S. is often the viewed as the global bully with an axe to grind. Reducing the size of the armed forces cuts down on government spending AND might get the world to view the U.S. more favorably, in one fell swoop.

But the USa is seen as a bully because it demands things, things people don't want to do. If the US makes lses demand it might be more popular, but it will also get less things done for it.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:10 pm UTC
by Jahoclave
stevey_frac wrote:
Zamfir wrote:Presumably, the US has an oversized army to encourage other countries to do things the US likes and profits from. It seems far-fetched to assume that the US can cut that army, and still hope to have the same dominant voice in how world affairs are set up, and without at least some costs to its economy.



That works, except for the part where the U.S. is often the viewed as the global bully with an axe to grind. Reducing the size of the armed forces cuts down on government spending AND might get the world to view the U.S. more favorably, in one fell swoop.

The only thing is, there's a large sector of the American economy that is built around defense spending. So while that may be the case, you're going to tank a lot of jobs if that money doesn't get spent elsewhere that a shit load of these defense contractors can turn their employees to. I recommend colonizing space; because, it's time to manifest destiny that non-gendered pejorative.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:25 pm UTC
by PeterCai
you guys do realize that none of the proposals you made will get passed or signed given the current gridlock right?

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:51 pm UTC
by ++$_
PeterCai wrote:you guys do realize that none of the proposals you made will get passed or signed given the current gridlock right?
No, actually they won't get passed or signed because we don't exactly have a way to get Congress to consider them (unless someone here is not what he or she seems). Once that hurdle is overcome, perhaps we can start talking about gridlock. But if there were somehow enough of an upheaval to get Congress to take up my deficit reduction proposal at all, that upheaval would probably be enough to wipe away the gridlock too.

We're not doing this because we seriously think Congress is going to look at our proposals, say "Oh! What a great proposal! Let's pass it!" That's not the point.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:22 pm UTC
by Aikanaro
PeterCai wrote:you guys do realize that none of the proposals you made will get passed or signed given the current gridlock right?

Spoilered for public safety:
Spoiler:

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:28 pm UTC
by Velict
A gut reaction here.

PeterCai wrote:you guys do realize that none of the proposals you made will get passed or signed given the current gridlock right?
I think that was the point of the assignment.

Given dictatorial reign over our nation's finances, what would you do? etc.

BoomFrog wrote:They really try to sell certain options with the way they word them, for example:
Reduce noncombat military compensation and overhead wrote:Would change health-care plan for veterans who had not been wounded in battle. Premiums, which have not risen in a decade, would rise. More veterans would receive health insurance from employer. This option would also take some benefits, like housing allowances, into account when tying military raises to civilian pay raises. Currently, increases in those benefits come on top of pay raises. The military would also reduce the length and frequency of combat tours. No unit or person will be sent to a combat zone for longer than a year, and they will not be sent back involuntarily without spending at least two years at home.

Considering it save 23/51 Billion I assume "change" means "mostly reduce" but it's not until the second half of the paragraph that they even start admitting this might give less money to veterans and the wording is still circuitous.


I have some firsthand experience with veteran care and whatnot, and in my opinion the program is underfunded, not overfunded. I'm not comfortable with cutting back on it, personally. We don't do nearly enough for our veterans as it is. In fact, from my experience, I would be very worried that the military would take pains to not diagnose things as combat injuries/etc., like avoiding diagnosing any veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

***

My take: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010 ... s=431n86ll

Severe reduction of social security and medicare, increased taxes on high income earners and estates, and reduced troop levels.

Eliminating earmarks isn't reasonable, particularly from a political standpoint. The reason that important pieces of legislation (e.g. The Affordable Care Act, Dodd-Frank, etc.) pass is that we include earmarks in them. In a perfect world, I wouldn't include them, but they're important politically. And they're sometimes the only way to get federal aid to our states.

I don't really like the idea of increasing taxes on investment or corporations. We have fairly high corporate tax levels (but not as high as some European nations, admittedly), so I reckon we should keep those taxes low to attract international corporations and keep them here in America. Similarly, we want as much investment as possible. A national sales tax would be regressive. Generally, I want to be pro-corporations, pro-business, but anti-rich people; we're looking to create wealth, but trying to avoid concentrating it among the top 1% of American society.

Ideally, I would like to see Social Security become a means-tested program (Warren Buffet doesn't need Social Security checks, but he'll get them nonetheless), and possibly eliminate Medicare in favor of massively expanding Medicaid. We want a security net, and that means giving security to those who need it in lieu of those who don't.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:53 pm UTC
by TheKrikkitWars
I Cut VA benefit eligablity, increased the age for medicare and social security to 70, checked the option which was essentially "enact law preventing legislative pork" and then taxed agressively.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:42 pm UTC
by Triangle_Man
I've already posted the link on the two other sites I frequent. I'd like to see what solutions people can come up with, and what better way to do that then to spread the love around, so to speak.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:48 pm UTC
by 22/7
Wow, giant surpluses based on not protecting the money of the rich and filthy rich or executing undeclared wars? Who would have guessed?

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:06 am UTC
by Bubbles McCoy
Princess Marzipan wrote: After the medicare cuts, it wasn't necessary to keep the loopholes closure - I'm unsure about it, since it's not clear how fair it is to earners in the bottom brackets. Assuming they don't get tax-fucked, I'm all for the simplification.

I think the loophole closure was based off of the deficit commission, which would leave in all of the bigger tax credits the poor tend to get (namely the earned income tax credit and the child credit). It might raise taxes ~1-2% on the second bracket up, but near as I know the only changes of substance would be on higher earners; only the top third of earners even bother to itemize their deductions so the effects of "loophole" closure wouldn't be falling on the poor.


Zamfir wrote:Presumably, the US has an oversized army to encourage other countries to do things the US likes and profits from. It seems far-fetched to assume that the US can cut that army, and still hope to have the same dominant voice in how world affairs are set up, and without at least some costs to its economy.

The military as a share of GDP has grown some 2-3% since 2000, and I don't feel we were overly compromised in terms of our world position at that point in time. We already so massively outspend everyone (especially when you factor NATO countries out) that I have a problem seeing such huge military spending as particularly necessary to maintaining our world power status.


Velict wrote:I have some firsthand experience with veteran care and whatnot, and in my opinion the program is underfunded, not overfunded. I'm not comfortable with cutting back on it, personally. We don't do nearly enough for our veterans as it is. In fact, from my experience, I would be very worried that the military would take pains to not diagnose things as combat injuries/etc., like avoiding diagnosing any veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Yeah, I forwent that particular cut for similar reasons (my take). I think it's possible that the wage/benefit structure could be rebuilt or that the VA could implement slight coverage reforms, but I'm highly uncomfortable with the idea of approaching the VA with the primary goal of getting money back rather than to make the system work better for it's own sake. Otherwise I stuck to a pretty wide range of cuts, a few mild tax hikes at the end to finish the job.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:36 am UTC
by The Reaper
Mine

I think I managed to do some strange things, but thats fine. Enjoy the national sales tax. Please remember: Big Brother loves you!

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:14 am UTC
by Internetmeme
Tax the bastards.
Then cap medicare expansion.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010 ... s=0001016z

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:39 am UTC
by Manial
Here's my method, without touching medicare or social security for the poor. Basically I took an axe to the military, added a sales tax, and jacked up taxes for the rich.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:37 pm UTC
by diamonds
The entire premise is wrong, it's assuming that debt alone is bad, and nothing else is. But what is decreasing the deficit going to do? Households have to balance their budget, I've heard, but households are also not allowed to steal their income from other people with the threat of violence/jail time!

All government spending is equally as bad, because it must become taxes somehow, either come from direct taxes, borrowing, or inflation. Taxes take money away from individuals, borrowing decreases money available for private borrowing and increases interest rates (and must be repaid anyways), and inflation plainly steals from savings.

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:26 pm UTC
by Internetmeme
diamonds wrote:The entire premise is wrong, it's assuming that debt alone is bad, and nothing else is. But what is decreasing the deficit going to do? Households have to balance their budget, I've heard, but households are also not allowed to steal their income from other people with the threat of violence/jail time!

All government spending is equally as bad, because it must become taxes somehow, either come from direct taxes, borrowing, or inflation. Taxes take money away from individuals, borrowing decreases money available for private borrowing and increases interest rates (and must be repaid anyways), and inflation plainly steals from savings.

Okay then, Mr. Smarty-Pants. How do you propose the government function without taxing the people? Do you /like/ descending into anarchy?

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:43 pm UTC
by Soralin
Link wrote:How I'd do it.

In a nutshell: reduce the military to a skeleton crew to defend America when it's actually under attack, but not to start wars. Tax the richest; tax banks taking extreme risks; tax environmentally unfriendly behaviour. Forcibly reduce the rift between the rich and the poor.

Nota bene, I'm European, and strongly anti-capitalist and anti-warmongering. I know America would never accept this, but it would work, and I think it's a lot fairer than trampling on the poor and the disabled.

You could get much more than that if you could reduce the military more than what they allow there. Something like this option would be nice:

[X] Reduce military spending to double the spending of the next nearest country.
Projected savings to deficit in:
2015: $2.33 trillion
2030: $9.34 trillion

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:53 am UTC
by Vaniver
Soralin wrote:You could get much more than that if you could reduce the military more than what they allow there. Something like this option would be nice:

[X] Reduce military spending to double the spending of the next nearest country.
Projected savings to deficit in:
2015: $2.33 trillion
2030: $9.34 trillion
Note they don't offer similar options for medicare and SS (by similar I mean percentage reduction).

The problem with saying "well, the US's defense budget should be twice China's!" is that then instead of having more money spent on defense than the rest of the world put together, we've got as much as China and Russia put together, or the UK and France put together. American responsibilities abroad are far more than the UK's and France's, and balancing with China and Russia instead of spending 10 times as much seems problematic.

(Do I think we could have a roughly equally effective military as now with dramatic (like, at least 50%) cuts? Definitely- and that would be fantastic. I enjoy peace as much as anybody else- I just believe the best way to get it is by making war a stupid move for other people.)

Re: Make your own deficit reduction plan

Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:33 am UTC
by alphawolf29
For all you people saying "tax the rich" Are you retarded? If you start taxing the rich, they will leave the country, Then who've you got to tax? no one.


Over-taxing the rich is the worst idea possible