We spend far too much time arguing about increasing or decreasing taxes as a mean to stimulate the economy and solve the deficit issue. Our focus needs to be on spending. Following is a family simple and straight forward approach to balancing the Federal budget which I believe that the electorate, regardless of political “leaning” will support. For reasons that should by now be apparent, this will not be supported by our current elected representation:
1. Despite our poor performance in providing quality health care our single largest area of spending is in this area. The solution is not to spend more. We have been doing this and it is not working. Available statistics show that our capita spending is more than double other countries that are providing a superior level of care. Our current level of spending for Medicare & Medicaid is $1.15 Billion. A new system of health care would conservatively save $500 billion.
2. Our 2nd largest budget is Social Security. I am not in favor of cuts in this area. In fact, with the aging of our population this area will need to increase.
3. Next largest area is Defense/War. I do not have a problem with Defense. I favor additional funding here as long as it spent efficiently. I have a problem with the “war”. Our current level of spending is over $630 billion. We the currently spent more than $2 trillion in “direct” costs to the offensive campaigns in Iraq & Afghanistan. This does not take into account the cost in human lives which now stands over 300,000 (125,000 of these have been civilians). Nor does it take into account the related costs to our dedicated warriors in terms of rehabilitation. It is estimated that if we withdraw now the total eventual cost of these incursions will exceed $4 trillion. Other estimates put the total nearer $6 trillion. Currently about $200 billion per year (about $100 billion in each war zone) is being spent on these, so far unsuccessful, efforts. I am in favor of bringing our boys and girls home now.
Focus on just two areas of spending has the potential to balance the budget. The current budget deficit is running at $684 Billion. Financial opportunities would remain in the areas of: productivity/efficiency, civil service salary inequity, disability abuse & other income security reform.