Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Bush Budget

As usual, Annotated Life is dead on the Bush budget and other matters economical with some cold hard numbers.

2 Comments:

At 1:05 PM, Blogger Aaron said...

We need to prepare for the Baby Boomers and start cutting back on government spending. I think Bush’s budget did not go far enough in trimming government coffers.

In about 10 - 15 years, there will be no way that we can afford to pay for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

We could radically increase taxes. However, this will cripple future generations. We can increase the budget deficit. But it will lead to serious systemic risks to our economy. We should reduce benefits promised during a previous era of prosperity in our country. Of course, we can try a combination of all three, but we would be left with a situation akin to eurosclerosis.

We must make the painful choice of reducing benefits and reshaping Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to care for the very neediest in our country. It will be hard, but the demographic trend is inexorable.

Reality shouts that this is not a Republican or Democrat issue.

 
At 2:47 PM, Blogger Lynn said...

Aaron,

Thanks for your comment. I read your blog and liked it. I look forward to reading more.

I certainly agree with a couple of your points. Medicare and Social Security have problems and that it is not just a Democrat vs. Republican problem.

In the interests of full disclosure, I am a baby boomer who is approaching his Social Security years. Having paid in a fair amount of money to Social Security during my working life I was looking toward to getting that money back with a fair return on it. I mention it so you know where my emotional biases are coming from. :)

I think the Bush tax cuts need to be rescinded. The Bush tax cuts dramatically magnified the entitlement program problems, rewarded the richest part of society, gave all kinds of special breaks to special economic interests, punished the poor and the working class, significantly increased the U. S. debt problem, and did not accomplish what they were supposed to do which was create a robust economy for the working class. Further extending those tax cuts compounds all of the other problems.

When I look at the wasteful spending in government I see some glaring areas for reduction. We are currently on our way to spending $1 to $2 trillion dollars in Iraq, a war that was a mistake. $1 to $2 trillion buys a lot medical care even in this era of skyrocketing health care costs. Also, deferring those costs to later generations is not going make it easier for those generations to save for retirement and provide for their health care.

The question also must be asked is how many multi-trillion dollar wars can the U. S. afford to engage in? At this time there is no rationale for defense spending and whether it is justified.

I don't want to get blown up by terrorists anymore than the next person. I don't want to get mugged walking the Chicago streets late at night either. I can't afford a bodyguard to protect me against that. I see the war on terror in a similar way. Defense spending needs some good old fashioned business cost/benefit analysis along with some good old fashioned accountability from those who are entrusted with the money.

I see a lot of defense spending that is designed for imperialist goals. Some people want that, but I don't. It is wrong and in the long term a waste of money.

There many days when am equally chagrined at both political parties.

When I look at last year's shameful pork barrel spending, I see another great area in which to eliminate spending.

When I look at the money that has been thrown away on boondoggle projects in the Homeland Security area, I see an area where we can get more lean and mean. The Gulf Coast disasters have shown that the money was not well spent on the priorities. Doing justice to the victims who are in need, and not just making a few well connected developers and contractors rich should be a priority too.

When I see American companies offshoring to avoid taxes, I see another great area to start gaining some revenue.

I could continue with my list.

The demographics of the Baby Boomers and its impact has been known for a long time. It was not all the long ago when we were running surpluses and it looked like we still had a chance to give all Americans the programs they want and need. Several years of very bad policies have darkened those hopes dramtically.

The fact remains that U. S. citizens need a health care program, in general, and not just a shored up program for retirees. A country as rich as the United States which cannot provide adequate health care to the children of poor and working class families is a shameful country in my opinion.

The first real step this year has to be not extending the Bush tax cuts. Merely trying to nickel and dime small programs aimed to benefit the poorest of society won't get the job done. It appears many Republicans and Democrats in Congress are already coming out against the nickel and dime approach. That is slightly encouraging.

 

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