Piggy Bank

My Federal Budget Proposal

Piggy BankI’m simple minded, really. So here’s my budget proposal in broad strokes:

  1. Tax the wealthy people the same way they were taxed when I was a child:  no more, no less.
  2. End the wars.  No, now.  We are not the world’s police force.
  3. Slash the non-personnel related defense department budget (which has soared) to pre 2001 levels.
  4. Slash other  “security” budgets.
  5. Slash oil subsidies.  Make them pay their fair share without robbing Americans at the pump.
  6. Close tax loopholes for large corporations that have moved their job base outside of the USA.
  7. Slash the salaries and benefits of the Congress to make it no more than 50% above the average American’s salary and benefits package.  Show the assholes something a little closer to what the typical American actually lives like in this country.  (Yes, this one is punitive and nothing else.)
  8. Invest in jobs creation.
  9. Invest in independance from foreign oil.
  10. Invest in education while also reducing our national dependence on testing.
  11. Invest in small, local business development.
  12. Invest in the national infrastructure to promote business development.

2 thoughts on “My Federal Budget Proposal”

  1. Hey, why not. You’ve actually got a plan to cut items–that’s more than the president did until he saw a republican budget. You must not play much golf.

    I like the idea of being king for a day and suggesting changes. Here’s some thoughts:

    5&6. My gut reaction to this is wholesale agreement. Thomas Sowell suggests there are a lot of corporations and agri-businesses that get HUGE subsidies thtat neither party talks about much. Slice them too.
    7. I was surprised to see what Congress makes (http://www.senate.gov/CRSReports/crs-publish.cfm?pid='0E%2C*PL%5B%3D%23P%20%20)–not nearly as much as I thought they did. If you consider the number of days they work, it would probably look worse. Same was true for the requirements for their retirements. Still, as a group, they do call forth a desire to take punitive action. If you consider a national income average of about $49K, there’s a whole lot of us–even those in retirement, who make a lot more than that.
    1.- Tax everyone at the same percentage rate or, even more populist–at the same dollar figure. Why does one pay more or less to the government for the exact same services and protections?
    – Everyone pays tax. We’re heading for a place where half of us pay none. There’s wisdom in the teaching that “if a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
    – When we’re talking about people who pay no taxes, can we stop calling republicans liars for saying everyone’s taxes will go down because those who pay none won’t get a larger check from the Government?
    2. No wars without a consistent, articulable basis for entering it–BEFORE entering it. For everyone who believes we’re bombing Lybians because we don’t like dictators or can’t stand the thought of innocents being killed, please review our president’s response to the Ahmadinejad’s treatment of those who protested his theft of the election, and Google the term Darfur. Then take a look at the oil fields in Lybia. European oil fields.
    3.I suppose if we aren’t at war, we won’t need to replenish so much defense equipment. I can agree with not being the world’s police force, but would also say we are not the world’s ATM either. We could cut off all Dept of State payments for cultural interests around the world. For instance, why are we paying to complete a mosque in China. Kind of bizar, when you consider we’re borrowing money from the Chinese to pay them to finish their mosque. The ACLU would have been all over that waste if it had been a protestant church.
    4.Let’s start with all of the “security” provided by TSA lunacy. Why not take a tip from a country like Israel, that has been under the threat of terrorist attacks since they formed. THEY understand how to keep bombers off their planes. It involves psychological (and other) profiling, but hey–it works!
    8.The government cannot create jobs (aside from civil servants–you really want more of those?) and has no constitutional authority for doing so. Let’s save all the additional taxes that would be those “investments.”
    9.I’m hoping you meant investing in INdependence from foreign oil. I propose we take the first steps in that direction by telling our president that it’s stupid to tell the Brazillians we’ll pay for them to drill off shore while having created a moratorium on our off-shore drilling. It’s even more stupid to tell them we’ll buy their oil and then tell Americans we’re going to reduce our foreign oil purchases by 25%. How about we stop sending oil money to people who fund terrorism and instead allow Americans to drill where we let British companies drill, where other drilling has increased wildlife, and where we have oil shale reserves FAR in excess of the oil in Saudi Arabia. Then we won’t be limited to using only 2% of the world’s oil, so the president and the media dunces can stop throwing out that canard.
    10.My first savings for education would be to disband HEW. More tax savings and fewer ridiculous programs. Education is mandatory in every state. That means we really have little basis for a federal interest. Once we start cutting back on welfare payments to states, those states will have more incentive to ensure their citizenry are sufficiently educated.
    11.My experience in watching the federal Government do small business convinces me that we’re always three or four steps behind the clever folks who’ve figured out how to abuse the programs we have. That or we have perverse incentives that were never anticipated. Not hard over on this, but I would prefer (as an example) to see 10 handicapped people get a government-driven job, rather than seeing one blind guy get a monthly check for sitting at home while a large company does the work and “mentors” him on running a business.
    12.To be perfectly frank, I had hoped we were going to get a lot of infrastructure updated with all of the “shovel ready” work that was to get done. The construction industry knew it was all a ruise under which the president made political payoffs to pet corporations and union supporters LONG before he quipped that there is no such thing as shovel-ready jobs.

    1. In response to your question in #1: “Why does one pay more or less to the government for the exact same services and protections?”

      From where I sit, the extremely wealthy should pay vastly more in taxes than the poor. The wealthy ruling class have grotesquely disproportionate advantages, access to wealth and earning potential, and receive an ungodly level of “services and protections” from their government than those not privileged with extreme wealth and the policy-making power it affords.

      That old adage, “It takes money to make money.” is only a small part of the story. The wealthy have government hedging their corporate risks (which are merged into the patriotic umbrella of “national interests”) with my tax dollars at every turn (oil corporations, the war and now the security industrial complex, bailing out greedy legalized gambling on Wall Street, to name but three). They are the ones that make the decisions to send American jobs out of America solely to increase their margins and their returns. They are the ones making millions on the dead peasant policies for their poorest employees who can’t even afford insurance as they work for such a small pittance. And then add insult to injury: they instill into the national conscience a dialogue that the poor are in this mess because they are lazy, sponging off social programs with no regard for responsibility.

      The day that every American citizen has realistic, equal access to the same opportunities for wealth aggregation, the day that hard work is the only variable that determines the capacity for wealth aggregation, the day that every American citizen has equal unfettered access to attaining the American dream without sacrificing common decency–that will be the day I favor taxing everyone the same dollar figure.

      “To whom much is given, much is required.” Capitalism is inherently not fair. It showers the wealthy with unfair advantages and protections. And Ronnie convinced the nation this aggregated wealth would all trickle down drop by drop to the guy on the street. It just didn’t turn out that way. Capitalism promotes greed. It acts as a catalyst for boom and bust. It hurts good, hard working, decent people who then have their character maligned as if they were the source of the problem. I am actually heartened to see that an increasing number of Americans see capitalism as one of histories more grotesque failures, an inhumanity completely inconsistent with the teachings of a socially progressive Jesus*.

      Blaming fiscal crisis on an irresponsible, lazy class of free loaders simply bores me. Such a perspective is so out of touch with the brutal reality that has become the American Nightmare, not the possibility of the American Dream. We are witnessing a war on the poor and now the middle class. This assault, no matter how it turns out, will not have a good ending. If we must talk about responsibility, then we have a responsibility to everyone in our nation, and we are not living up to that responsibility. At all.

      I had no idea when I was campaigning for Reagan back 30 years ago that the end result of the economic theories he promoted would be so utterly ruinous to the whole nation. I had no idea that the wealthy would send American jobs overseas, shutter our manufacturing sector, and redistribute money at an unprecedented rate to the already absurdly wealthy. I had no idea that China would eventually own the US without ever firing a shot. I had no idea that the contractually earned pension funds of millions of hard working Americans would vaporize because of Wall Street greed and recklessness and what was left would be considered an “unfair burden” on the states. I had no idea that decent people would lose their homes while the irresponsible banks walked off with billions of tax dollars that padded their bonuses nicely. I had no idea that decent hard working people would be labeled the welfare class and not the banking industry itself. If anyone had told me any of this 30 years ago, I would have thought them crazy.

      And the irony that had this failed government (and I blame Democrats and Republicans, Executive and Legislative) not extended the tax cuts for the super wealthy, the 1% of Americans who make more than the entire bottom 90% of ALL Americans combined, we would not have even faced the possibility of a government shut down is not lost on me. I simply don’t understand how this can be seen as justifiable save to perpetuate the privilege of the ruling elite.

      *I highly recommend Rob Bell’s book, “Jesus Wants to Save Christians”. His discussions of “empire” fascinate me to no end. I also recommend Michael Moore’s documentary, “Capitalism: A Love Story”. I found of particular interest a California bakery, breads I think, in which all employees make the same amount per hour from the top executives on down. They all equally own the company. No one else is an owner. The only way to increase your income is to work more hours. The CEO asked a compelling question, “Why should I make any more than the workers on the line?”

      Oh, and in my post when I referred to “invest”, I am not just solely talking about investing financially in infrastructure. I also mean creating policy that promotes private, local investment.

      I know we see this from very different vantage points. And, if I’m going to err (not that I ever would–wink), I want to err on the side of being more humane.

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