Sunday, November 14, 2010

Woodchip's People Friendly Balanced Budget


The Woodchip Miracle
As we noted in News and Notes, The New York Times published an inter-active chart allowing readers of their rag to try their hand at balancing the budget. It goes without saying that the choices offered were summarized in gross and that the inter-active, as a whole, was subtly biased toward social austerity choices the Times would like us to make. Nevertheless, the inter-active proves that the budget can be balanced by cutting our obscene military spending and raising taxes on the excessively rich, without touching a hair on the head of Social Security or Medicare. Woodchip’s Choices:


A. DOMESTIC PROGRAMS & FOREIGN AID


1. Cut Foreign Aid in Half .........................saves: 17 billion
(Most of this “aid” is disguised military spending and spying)

2. Eliminate Earmarks ...............................saves 14 billion

3. Cut 250.000 contractors .......................saves 17 billion
(Most of these contracts are scams, payback and kick backs.)

Not Selected were options to cut federal workers pay by 5% and the federal worlforce by 10%. We have no doubt that the federal workforce could stand cutting, but absent specification that the cuts will not affect services delivered to the needy, we cannot offer an endorsement. In addition, when unemployment is at 20% it is supremely stupid to cut any jobs even if they were only federal make work.

B. MILITARY SPENDING

1. Reduce nuclear arsenal & space spending .. 19 billion
(This item would reduce our total nukular warheads by half to a mere 1,000; it would also give up on Mars-based interplanetary missle programs.

2. Reduce military to pre-Iraq War size ...... 25 billion

3. Reduce Navy and AirForce fleets. ......saves 19 billion
(Under this proposal the navy would “shrink” to from 286 sheeps to 230.)

4. Cancel/Delay weapons progams .........saves 19 billion

5. Reduce non-combat benefits/costs ......saves 23 billion
(This proposal would raise health care premiums/shift costs to private employers; it would also reduce housing allowances etc. We are loathe to cut personal benefits and do so only because we continue to emphasize that what is needed is a UNIVERSAL plan for all rather than patchwork of programs that benefit some and discriminate against others)

6. Reduce Iraq and Afpakistan troops to 30,00
by 2013 .............................................................saves 86 billion.
(If the cuts are delayed to 2015, it saves only 51 billions, but it is lunacy to delay ending a war that we know is unwinnable and which is bankrupting the country)

What these items indicate is how obscene and bankrupting the NeoCon 'escapade' into Iraq and Afghanistan has been. They also indicate how colosally disastrous the a war with Iran will be. It is simply no exageration to say that the ZioCon Agenda more than anything else has brought the country to the brink of fiscal ruin.
C. TAX REFORM

1. Cut Estate Tax to Pre-Clinton Levels ......... 50 billions
(The GOP/Blue Dog proposal would impose piddling estate taxes saving no more than 12 billion. Obama's "socialistic" proposal would tax a little more resulting in deficit savings of 24 billion. What gets forgotten here is the "Pre-Clinton" levels means the tax rate that existed under Good Ol' Ronnie. Join the Chipster Chorus in singing, "If 'twas good enuff for Ronnie; if 'twas good enuff for Ronnie; if 'twas good enuff for Ronnie....it's goo inuff fo' me."

2. Raise Investment Taxes to Clinton Era levels... 32 billions
(Obamacrats would raise the capital gains tax to 20% for people making “a few hundred thousand dollars a year”. In theory, Clinton era levels would affect workers pensions plans; but in practice these have been wiped out anyway.)

3. All Expiration of Bush Tax Cuts for incomes over 250,000 ..........................................................saves 54 billion
(An alternative option would eliminate the tax cuts for incomes under 250,000 saving 172 billion; but under includes 100,000 and 50,000 and the Gazette sees no reason to hit working people harder. The savings figure illustrates just how much of the tax burden is borne by the working class, specifically three times as much as the upper class.)

4. Impose a social security tax on incomes over
$106,000 ...........................................................saves 50 billion
(There is simply no reason to exempt those who make more from paying more)

5. Special sur-tax income over 1 million .........50 billion
(If the Times wants to talk about an era of "austerity" it should include the concept "social austerity" which means that there is no reason why anyone needs more than 1 million dollars a year to have a perfectly good and decent life.)

6. Cut all tax breaks except child and earned income credits the mortgage interest deduction and health and retirement benefits ........................................ 75 billion
(An alternative proposal would impose higher rates yielding savingt of 136 billion)

7. Reduce mortgage interest deduction by converting it to a credit .................................................. saves 25 billion
(This deduction is very popular with the "middle class" but in actuality it is of principal benefit to real estate speculators and corporate property owners. There are better ways to incentivize and reward first home purchasers.)

8. Carbon tax ...................................................saves 40 billion

9. Bank tax ...................................................... saves 73 billion
Woodchip rejects any national sales tax or VAT (projected savings of 41 billion) because it is as highly regressive.

What the foregoing shows is that the budget can be balanced by taxing the wealthiest and least productive elements of society and reducing military spending from monstruously stratopheric heights to merely "over-the-top" levels. By the same token, the inter-active shows just what and who is responsible for this country's fiscal disaster. Banks, Insurance Companies, War Profiteers (that's what they used to be called before the Era of Euphemism) and the obscenely wealthy are the country's problem...not its poor.

The New York Times rather coyly offered the following options that would "blame" the working class and the poor for the country's woes and that would "solve" the problem by reducing the thread bare to rags:

1. raise the social security retirement age to 68 or 70.........saves 8 billion
2. reduce social security for those above 60th percentile ...saves 6 billion
4. tighten disability eligibility .............................................saves 9 billion
5. use alternate measuses for inflation adjustm..................saves 9 billion

6. increase medicare eligibility to 68 or 70 .........................saves 8 billion
7. medical malpractice reform .............................................saves 8 billion
4. reduce credits for employer provided health insurance .........41 billion
5. cap medicare growth as of 2013 .....................................saves 29 billion

The social security/medicare savings show what a vilely vindictive creep of a human Alan ("Cow Tit") Simpson is. On the scale of things the savings from social security and medicare cuts to recipients are among the smallest. But the human cost in suffering and hardship is immense. Alan Cow Tit Simpson and the Top Two Percent are perfectly happy to let old ladies eat cat food for dinner in order to save 8 billion dollars while excusing banksters from paying a tax which would generate 73 billion.

Nevertheless, we Chipsters have to thank the New York Times for baring its neo-liberal ass, allowing the rest of us to see, very clearly, how the fiscal woes of this country can be resolved by two principal measures: cutting back military spending to Bush I levels and returning tax policy to Reagan/Clinton levels. Ironic.


©WCG, 2010
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1 comment:

Linda said...

Thank you for bringing this up. I too used that interactive, probably the exact way you did, and slashed the budget to the bone without disturbing any social programs. They made it SO obvious! (As you point out.)
I never did see any results of readers input 'til now - interesting.
Good work Chipster