Chad Selweski, the local columnist for The Macomb Daily, published an opinion piece in Sunday's edition of that newspaper the beginning of which follows below.
The point of the article being that issues having to do with the deficit are extraordinarily difficult, and the real problem with Tea Party types being that they want to enjoy the services provided by government, they just don't want to pay for them.
Click anywhere below to read the entire article.
I wonder how our local Tea Party activists spent their Saturday afternoon.
How many took advantage of yesterday’s national forum, a teleconference held in 19 cities (including Detroit) and for thousands of individuals online, to seek solutions to the nation’s bulging budget deficit?
Organized by a nonpartisan group, AmericaSpeaks, the unprecedented event provided a sobering view of our country’s $13 trillion debt and the limited options facing Congress if it tries to tackle the problem.
The op-ed ends as follows:
Much of this entire fiscal responsibility issue centers on arithmetic, not politics.
The following is my reply.
To begin with .....
I'm not a member of any Tea Party affiliate.
I do like them and will support them.
I belong to no organized political party, I'm a Libertarian ..... probably.
Having said that.
Here are some ideas which if applied would probably enable principal payments on the deficit in year 1.
Not necessarily in this order.
1. Remove all American troops and military bases from foreign soil, excepting those troops stationed within embassies.
Leave NATO, abandon Okinawa, and allow Europe, Japan, The House of Saud etc. to defend themselves.
American military personnel are presently posted on some 760 military sites within 63 countries.
I haven't checked it today, but most years our military budget has exceeded that of the rest of the world combined.
Europe is cutting military spending in response to their deficits because we defend them.
Europe, Japan and the rest of the world needs to defend itself.
Their defense ain't our job.
We need to maintain fearsome defensive military power.
We do not need offensive military weaponry such as carrier groups (they are nothing more than big assed targets anyway), long range bombers, etc.
Scrap half of them out.
We do not need to be maintaining military bases on foreign soil, anywhere.
And we damn sure don't need to be defending foreign despots while allowing them to abuse their own people.
Ya listening Faisel?
As an aside.
While you're at it, reduce our payment to the United Nations to a pro-rata share.
Those guys are hopelessly corrupt and largely a waste of skin.
2. Raise the retirement age to 67 and 71.
From 1950 to 2005, life expectancy for an American male has increased from 65.47 to 75.2 years while the median retirement age has decreased from 66.9 years to 61.7 years.
At it's inception there were 41.9 workers per Social Security beneficiary, we are now pushing toward 3 workers per beneficiary.
As you would expect, we now have over 50 million beneficiaries, 10 million of which are collecting Social Security benefits for disabilities.
While we're on the subject, reviewing every last disability claimant seems prudent.
3. Rather than paying 100% of medical costs for medicare and medicaid recipients and attempting to fix costs by legislation, provide for the federal government to reimburse 67% of all health care costs for those eligible for medicare and medicaid benefits.
Prudence will reign by virtue of people now being responsible for a third of their own medical expenses.
They can insure or not, negotiate or not, get care or not, but the fact that a third of the cost is skin (so to speak) will save a ton of money and probably improve care.
If you're flat broke, charities can and will pick up the slack.
Hell, you might be able to provide 30% to maybe 50% coverage for everybody else under that kind of an arrangement and still come out ahead.
And while we're on the subject.
4. Loser pays.
As a sop to my many and dear attorney friends, limiting liability is nonsense, but nuisances gotta pay.
5. Deduct the first $20,000 of income for every individual and corporate taxpayer, and apply a flat 20% tax on every dime of income thereafter, from every source, cash as well as the cash value of benefits.
End all payroll taxes, they're going into the general fund anyway.
Remove all deductions for mortgage interest, charitable contributions (Americans give because Americans give, the deduction is gravy ... lose it), IRA's, dependants, state and local taxes, depreciation, depletion ..... and every other damn thing.
Bigger incomes pay higher taxes.
Identical incomes pay identical taxes.
Account across the board, Cash in, Cash out.
While you're at it require public companies to account to shareholders exactly as they account to the IRS.
Businesses acquiring buildings and capital equipment can write purchases off in the year acquired (the economy will boom), that's cash out. If buildings and equipment are sold or scrapped later on, that's cash in.
Removing mortgage interest as a deductible item will cause huge problems in such a debt infested environment, and as such would probably have to be phased, do it as ruthlessly as possible.
In the interest of financing growth, you probably want interest to be a deductible item for business adventures, but not against personal income, you want to prohibit the LLC from buying the homestead, or at least deducting the mortgage interest.
Dividends should be a deduction at the corporate level (cash out) and income to the recipient (cash in) at the ordinary rate.
Income from federal debt should be taxed at the same rate as all other income.
Capital gains should be taxed at the same rate as all other income.
6. Close the Commerce Department, the Department of Education, and HUD, as well as the Department of Homeland Security (it's a joke).
Somebody has been stealing from HUD my entire adult life.
7. Sell Fanny, Freddie, Ginnie Mae and whatever acronym handles student loans.
Never guarantee or imply a guarantee of anything or anybody, to anybody, ever again.
8. Legalize it! Then tax it.
9. Tax foreign oil at the border ... big time.
Develop gasified coal (it worked for Hitler, it'll work for us), along with nuclear, wind, solar, etc.
10. Invest a little money and finish the fence.
Invest a little more to find and deport every last illegal residing in this country.
While you're at it fine employers of illegals, while significantly reducing unemployment benefits.
Think it through.
Jobs will come open, wages will probably increase with subsequent increases in tax revenues and reductions in federal expenses.
That Compton might have to drive out to the fields and pick a little lettuce is a also good thing.
You may choose to disagree with individual items, but that there be one helluva start.
Do the arithmetic!!!
People should listen to their Uncle Roany ... I got answers.