I Fought The Deficit and The Deficit Won.

by Darwin on November 16, 2010

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?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

jeff @ sustainable life blog November 16, 2010 at 9:00 am

I noticed the tool as well, and thought it was pretty neat. I did solve the problem, but I cut everything I possibly could. I see your point that no one wants to hear about cuts, but I don’t wholly agree with that. Chris Christie (of NJ)has been very honest about cuts that needs to happen, and has been careful to take it off the backs of everyone, not just soak 1 group. I think if more came out and said “hey, you’re all going to lose something and if you argue you’ll get it worse” could be a place to start


Darwin November 16, 2010 at 9:19 am

I do love Christie – one of the few. My wife’s a teacher and we are from New Jersey and we both wholeheartedly support the very minor sacrifices he asked for and when he didn’t get them, the voters spoke. I suspect it would be incredibly difficult to enact many cuts at once though since full Congressional approval required for many and politicians’ JOB#1 is to be reelected. They worry about competing against they guy who promises to give away more. Americans have been conditioned to ‘get mine’ from the government. Bailouts, stimulus, tax credits and all the other schemes we’ve had just in the past years alone aren’t helping to wean us off.


Evan November 16, 2010 at 5:44 pm

If I can’t take out the health bill I don’t even want to play with the tool LOL!

Chris Christie ROCKS – his youtube videos are unreal


Jerret November 30, 2010 at 7:16 am

Oh, I fixed it fairly easy using the NY Times model. Problem is, nobody wants to step up and make the hard decisions. Cutting government services isn’t a bad thing. Funny how so many people look to the government for a solution when it’s THE biggest part of the problem.


Joe The Plumber March 16, 2011 at 9:44 am

I balanced the budget and was able to add programs for the poor and for energy independence. A little hint to the moron that can’t balance the budget, you have to raise taxes.


Darwin March 16, 2011 at 9:55 pm

That doesn’t sound like something Joe the Plumber say?!


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