Social Question

laureth's avatar

Can you balance the U.S. budget?

Asked by laureth (27091 points ) July 2nd, 2010

Here’s an interesting site that lets you see if your ideas will stabilize the U.S. debt.

http://crfb.org/stabilizethedebt/

If you decide to try this exercise, did your priorities and numbers do the job you thought they’d do? And if you did manage to stabilize the debt, perhaps you will share with us what you did, why you made the choices you made, and how you think your budget would affect life in the United States. Finally, did seeing the math affect how you thought of the budget and where it collides with political ideology?

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16 Answers

laureth's avatar

Interestingly, here are the GOP’s smart solutions for the budget for comparison. When we tried running these through at home, the debt was raised to 79% of GDP by 2018.

SmashTheState's avatar

In The Terrorism Trap, Michael Parenti has an interesting suggestion. He says the US should take half of its yearly military budget and begin paying reparations to all of the people and nations it has spent the last 200 years abusing and exploiting. The resulting goodwill will reduce the need for a military back to reasonable levels, allowing for further cuts. Amerika spends more on the military than the next five largest militaries combined.

gailcalled's avatar

Jeez: I can’t balance my check book, even though I do most financial transactions online.

lillycoyote's avatar

LOL. Me? No way. I’m with @gailcalled. I can barely balance my own check book and manage my own budget. Woe unto them, woe unto any nation who would call upon me to take charge of the finances. :-)

shilolo's avatar

I managed to do it, but it was a real eye opener. Cut, cut, cut, cut….

AmWiser's avatar

Sorry, I can hardly balance my checkbook. So I won’t lie and say I can balance the U.S. budget or even attempt to.
;-)

ragingloli's avatar

“You reduced the debt to 54% of GDP in 2018, and kept it at a sustainable level through 2030.”
Did I win?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Kevin Kline as an actor pretending to be the President (movie: Dave) and his nervous accountant Murray did! You should watch that movie. It is funny and relevant even today!

laureth's avatar

@ragingloli – what were the big cuts for you?

ragingloli's avatar

military spending cuts, raising the age for social security, raising taxes, letting tax cuts expire, adjusting the methods how benefits are calculated, cutting federal workforce, limiting the tax deductions, reducing farming subsidies. these sort of things.
I would have liked to have a slider to raise taxes for high income earners and i would have liked to cut military spending a lot more.

jaytkay's avatar

The site is pushing an agenda, backing the haves against the have-nots, so I’m not playing.

For example, income above $106,000 has no Social Security tax. Bill Gates, Paris Hilton and someone who makes $106,000 per year all pay the same Social Security Tax.

The game had no option for raising that cap.

laureth's avatar

@jaytkay – Surely there are many more bells and whistles they could have added, but not every omission represents an agenda (any more than reality itself has an agenda). The haves and the have-nots play against each other in the political arena with astounding regularity.

@ragingloli – Keep in mind that getting the debt down to 0% of the GDP is the truly balanced budget. ;) At least it’s a rough idea for those folks who think that simply cutting cow fart studies will make everything copacetic.

jaytkay's avatar

@laureth Leaving the $106K cap out of a discussion of Social Security is like leaving the Pentagon out of the overall budget.

ETpro's avatar

The right way to balance the budget and stop the growth of debt is with revenues, not spending cuts. We need to close all the loopholes that let most wealthy people pay a lower effective tax rate than K-Mart workers, and increase the FICA cap and top rate to more like it was in the Clinton Years.

The only opther way to balance the budget is to cut off all entitlement spending or drastically slash the military. Doing either of those things would add millions of people to the poverty roles, provoke another round of millions of home foreclosures, and drastically slash consumer spending. It would likely send us into a dwindling spiral that would end in Great Depression II.

laureth's avatar

@ETpro, as usual, has it. I think this is a tool to help people see that, though.

talljasperman's avatar

it gives limited choices…I went to both extremes from 35% to 100%... Maybe its time for outside the box thinking?

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