There’s a really interesting, fun and somewhat deceptive tool at the NYTimes [deficit tool] which allows you to toy with various proposals in order to cut the deficit and in real time, you can see how you did. As you can see, the tool starts off with the present assumptions and lets you cut from there.
You can see your impact on both the 2015 Deficit and the 2030 Deficit since some cuts take a few years to enact or will be growing massively in the coming years as our nation ages. Each tiny box represents a Billion Dollars. If that doesn’t hit home, then try actually cutting the deficit to neutral. After choosing to cut farm subsidies, cutting foreign aid in half, wiping out the government worker ranks and over a dozen other boxes checked, here’s the best I could do with options I could reasonably foresee EVER happening:
I came real close on the 2015 deficit, but I’m way behind on the 2030 deficit still. Realizing this is the New York Times, I’d expect nothing less, but noticeably absent from prominent ideas (and a major burden to future generations) is the HealthCare Reform Bill which is essentially set up to bankrupt the country in its current state. If we could have reworked that monstrosity, maybe, just maybe we could get there. And the NYTimes couldn’t help but create a nice $100 Billion “Bank Tax” to punish those rich bastards some more. It looks so nice, that $100 Billion just sitting there on the last line. So no, my deficit cuts didn’t further single out banks. Maybe a public sector union tax? How would that go over?
As I’d highlighted in this recent update on recommendations from the deficit panel, even the seemingly aggressive ideas put forth there barely put a dent in our nation’s debt problem. To get us into the black, it’s going to take some serious US Austerity, which Americans aren’t down with. We like to get stuff, not give up stuff. Promising that stuff to the most people wins elections. When looking at tax rates by country, it’s also tough to not envision a future hike. Remember, we loved some of these dumb stimulus programs – studying ants in Africa, building sidewalks that lead nowhere, the creation of a joke machine (no joke) and all. Telling Americans your “narrative” is to wipe out spending and put us in the black isn’t sexy. It’s horrifying actually. So horrifying that the only way we’ll probably ever see us get our act together is an authentic dollar crisis. America’s great in a crisis. We’re not so great at avoiding them. You can try out the tool here [NYTimes]
What Did Your Deficit Numbers Look Like?