Saturday, May 14, 2011

How Would You Eliminate the Deficit?

How would you eliminate the deficit?

People want spending cuts in the abstract, but rarely in practice, and certainly don't want any tax increases.  There are some exceptions (people generally are ok with raising taxes on the wealthy, and it's about 50-50 on cutting national security spending).  Point is, people want the deficit eliminated, but they tend to bring down the smack around politicians who come up with a plan to actually do it.

Here's your chance to show you're different.  The New York Times has a nifty little app that lets you pick your own deficit reduction plan, and it may be a lot harder than you think.

Here's my plan, which isn't exactly what I would do because the tool doesn't present anything like a complete menu of options.  But, it eliminates the deficit with about half spending cuts and half revenue increases, with a lot of room to spare, so that I have some left over to put into infrastructure and R&D investments that will greatly improve long-term growth.  Some of these are conditional...for example, capping Medicare growth at GDP + 1 percent would require a powerful Independent Payment Advisory Board like President Obama is proposing, that would have real authority to find significant cost savings.

Any plan you come up with has at least one important quality: it can't be passed by Congress.

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