(Last time totaled up: 12:43am on December 10)
After perusing several different budget control plans, from Boehner's proposal to Obama's proposal, Simpson-Bowles and plans from various liberal, conservative, and independent think tanks, this is the plan I've cobbled together that I think would responsibly cut the deficit over the next decade and perhaps beyond.
What I want you to do: vote. But your vote must be on the totality of DGB
-- any statement where you say you'll vote on this "except for" this part or that part will be considered a "no" vote.
You are welcome, as always, to pick it apart and do your thing, but your post will be construed as a yes or a no vote based on my interpreation, and added to the vote totals accumulated in the vote totals at the top of the OP.
"DGB" will be the abbreviation for the Direckshun Grand Bargain from here on out.
THE DIRECKSHUN GRAND BARGAIN (6 trillion)
Mandatory Spending Cuts (over 300 billion):
- Should reduce our debt by 60% by 2040.
- Will raise the debt limit an appropriate amount, but will otherwise not change how the debt limit is handled.
- All estimates are for 2013-2022, but DGB auto-renews every decade unless Congress acts.
- All these savings will result in $850 billion saved in interest that won't have to be paid.
- Would make the "fiscal year" two calendar years.
- Does assume some costs of already existing cuts and new taxes.
Discretionary Spending Cuts (2.2 trillion):
- Reduce farm subsidies. (20 billion)
- Savings on government (& military) pensions, largely by saying you can vest sooner but must collect later, reforming COLA payments and making federal workers pay more into the pension. (70 billion)
- Increase spending on integrity programs for programs with improper payment problems (Medicare & disability). (should save 30 billion eventually)
- Miscellaneous cuts (150 billion)
- Measure inflation better. (50 billion)
Revenue Increases (2.5 trillion):
- Reduce defense spending by 1.3 trillion (closing 1/3 military bases, cut down on contractors as well as their compensation).
- All of the cuts from the Budget Conrol Act of 2011 will be enforced. (900 billion)
Healthcare & Social Security (850 billion):
- Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire. (1.1 trillion)
- Tax reform: repeal AMT, capital gains and dividends are taxed as normal income, repeal state and local taxes, cafeteria plans, and many kinds of itemized deductions, and drastically reduce deductions on charity.
- No more mortgage deduction for 2nd homes, homes worth more than 500k, or HELOCs.
- Reduce income tax exclusion for employer healthcare.
- Three tax rates: 15%, 25%, and 39%, raising taxes on the rich while broadening the base, and simplifies the code.
- These pieces of tax reform, put together, will add up to 1.25 trillion.
- Raise the gas tax $0.15 in 2013. (150 billion)
- Adjust how the government measures inflation to a more accurate measure. (90 billion)
- Obamacare's shifting payment schemes that compensate doctors less, improve efficiency, and shift the healthcare system to a system that compensates on quality, not quantity.
- Tort reform, including paying lawyers less.
- Close the Medicare donut hole.
- Improve Medicare's cost sharing.
- Identify additional $200 billion in federal healthcare spending by 2020.
- Improve some social security benefits, in particular minimum payments for people with lifetime minimum wage jobs and helping out the oldest retirees. (This will actually cost around 50 billion.)
- Raise social security age to 67.
- Increase the maximum at which you can tax somebody for social security (200+ billion).
- Measure inflation better for social security (150 billion).
Do your worst. Poll forthcoming.