And So I Go: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Deficit Commission Report revealed—well maybe some of it.

Posted on: December 2, 2010

I have been reading all over to get a handle on the recommendations of the Deficit Commission and here is some of what I found:  (It all sounds good to me.  In fact, I don’t think they went far enough  BB – Deficit Commission’s Final Plan Released – Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The plan recommends the immediate implementation of fundamental tax reform and the elimination of nearly all of the 150-plus tax expenditures, with a few exceptions: the earned income tax credit, the child credit, mortgage interest deductions (but only for primary homes), employer-provided health insurance credits, retirement savings and pensions credits, and charitable giving deductions. Itemized deductions would be eliminated, and capital gains and dividends would be taxed at ordinary rates.

The plan cuts tax rates across the board, reducing the top rate to between 23 percent and 29 percent. Originally, the co-chairs recommended establishing three rates — 15 percent, 25 percent, and 35 percent. Their proposal to implement a 15 cent-per-gallon fuel tax hike within the next five years remains unchanged.

The corporate tax rate would be streamlined, with the rate necessarily falling between 23 percent and 29 percent, down from the current top rate of 35 percent. The plan suggests a 28 percent rate in its illustrative proposal, a 2-point increase over the chairmen’s mark proposal. Meanwhile, a territorial system would be established for foreign-owned companies with U.S. subsidiaries, allowing them to keep foreign profits. All tax deductions and expenditures for businesses would be eliminated.

The plan calls for discretionary spending to return to pre-crisis 2008 levels in 2013, while freezing spending in 2012 at 2011 levels and constraining spending growth to half the rate of inflation through 2020. It would cut non-war defense spending at the same rate as non-defense spending, while war spending would fall under the responsibility of the president, who would be required to propose annual limits.

The plan adds details on how to reduce federal health care spending, which were noticeably absent in the initial Simpson-Bowles proposal. They include changing how Medicare pays doctors, scrapping a long-term care insurance plan created by President Obama’s signature health care bill, overhauling medical malpractice litigation, and chipping away at Medicare and Medicaid costs through a variety of measures.

But the final proposal still lacks specifics on how to control upward-spiraling health care cost increases throughout the economy – the biggest driver of long-term budget deficits, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The commission’s boldest attempt to control those costs is by eliminating the tax exemption for employer-paid health benefits, which many economists say would help reduce costs by forcing individuals to shoulder more of the burden of their health care choices.  (MY thought on these proposals are quite simple:  if the government or anyone else is only willing to pay so much for a service then the service provider will provide at that price or not.  Since service provider’s need to make money they will accept the offer.  It just means sticking to your guns! which of course won’t happen.  But if this were made to happen then medical costs would indeed go down.  They only went up[ so high and so fast with double digits because the government and people was willing to pay the ridiculously high charges.   Just common sense people. BB)

The retirement age would be raised to 69 by roughly 2075 – an escalation that would begin in 2027, when the age threshold will reach 67 – in order to rein in Social Security spending to ensure the program’s solvency. It would allow Americans who could not work after age 62 – but who do not qualify for disability benefits – to apply for hardship waivers to begin collecting benefits earlier.

They also suggest:  Cutting the White House Budget by 15% saving $8 million by 2015.  But before they do this they need to get all the contributors to the White House budget on one page.  No one actually knows how much is spent at the White House because the pice tag is cut up and spread over so many departments and agencies.

Impose a three year pay freeze on federal workers and DoD civilians.  Considerin that these people now make almost twice what the tax payers do a little pay freeze seems in order.

Reduce the federal workforce thru attrition would save $13 BILLION by 2015.

Reduce federal travel, printing and vehicle expenditures. Like Pelosi’s jet and all that stupid paper and phamphlets the government puts out.  Maybe all the  income tax sent to everyone when most people have someone else do their taxes.  And the form letter from our Congress people.  They all have Internet site so if anyone wants news then they can get it that way,

Selling excess federal property.  All the land they own out West and lease out for pennies to oil and coal companies to stripe of the minerals and then give back to the People.  And surely 1.2 million buildings are too many for the government to use.

Eliminate ALL Congressional Ear Marks.  YES!  If there is a need for a certainly project in a Congressman’s district then bring it up in a stand alone bill to be voted on by the entire body.  Stop the packing on at midnight before the bill is voted on.

More generally, the plan proposes budget process reforms to encourage accountability in the budgeting process.


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