I am sure like me the rest of you are sick to death of hearing about the fiscal cliff. Also disgusted that a problem we’ve known about for 18 months isnt solved but kicked down the road 2 months blows the mind of your average person who would be fired if they acted this way at work. To me this deal is pretty much a non starter; what is needed is some sort of comprehensive package that can get the economy moving again, phase in cuts and completely change the tax code. What bothers me the most about all of this is that it wastes precious time to help the economy, create more jobs. All of this bickering back and forth makes the world see us as not being able to govern ourselves; not being able to do whats best for our country. Then there is the domino effect; this spectacle has soured consumer confidence; consumer spending accounts for 70% of GDP. So while our elected politicians are acting like school children the effects are lasting and deep. This agreement is set to explode in 2 months when they have to decide about the sequestration and raising the debt ceiling.
What I am curious about now is our $15 Trillion per year economy; and Government spending according to the CBO of around $5.2 Trillion in 2010. Where does all of that money go? Exactly what do we spend it on. How much are we spending on Homeland security? I think it would be useful for the American people to understand where there tax dollars go to. I dont want to hear ‘defense’ gets $800B per year; I want to know what that includes. As in any large organization there is always redundancy and waste. I would like to see a Management Consultant company come in and evaluate every expenditure the government makes and hear their suggestions for reducing waste. I would guess this would be a very large amount of money. This needs more transparency, people need to know more. A popular mantra of the GOP is that government is too big. What is big government? Police, firefighters, social security, medicare?
When the American public is polled they overwhelmingly want to keep the social safety nets like medicare, social security, medicaid. Polls show 80% of Americans want these programs kept in place. What this tells me is that people want these programs but dont want to pay for them. But first, they and the GOP needs to understand people overwhelmingly want these programs. The government is there to provide for the will of the people not to keep their own jobs. But who will pay?
Raising taxes is a no brainer, it just depends on when is the best time to do it, when the economy is strong enough. Perhaps we should also have a VAT – Value Added Tax, this kind of tax tends to effect the higher earners than the lower ones. It should be noted that half of the longterm debt comes from the Bush Tax Cuts, HALF. This is important because if they had never been lowered we would be in a much better place right now. Additionally the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were the first wars the United States ever fought without having a war tax on. The tax negligence of the Bush years needs to be corrected. When GOP says their tired old talking points of ‘we dont have a revenue problem we have a spending problem’ that is just complete bullshit. We have massive problems because of the lack of taxes from President Bush.
So this non deal is going to lead to a nasty dragged out fight in 2 months, probably worse than what we went thru last year and just now. Again, all of this wasted time where the government should be focusing like a laser on the economy and jobs. We have an unemployment crisis in the United States and we are doing nothing about it. Getting people back to work will bring in more revenue to lower the deficit and long term debt.
One thing I do like about this deal is the means testing aspect of it. I like that if you earn over a certain amount you cant deduct as many things, perhaps we should extend this to social security and medicare as well. How much would that save? We need vision to simplify the tax code, make it more fair and understandable. And find better ways of saving money. This is all doable with some Vision.