In the midst of all the negative commentary regarding our economic situation, it might be useful to consider what can be done on Capitol Hill to bring us back to the good old days of the 1990's. We all have different definitions of “the good ol’ days,” but mine includes: no wars; an annual budget surplus that will eventually lead to a meaningful reduction of our national debt; the ability to responsibly and thoughtfully meet our domestic social needs; a tax system that is fair for all; and much lower unemployment.
The new bipartisan “super committee” has a daunting assignment ahead. They must propose reduced spending and perhaps increased taxes, or the country will be subjected to draconian across-the-board cuts that will leave many crippled financially.
Decisions made by the committee will undoubtedly be met with great revulsion, so I have a few suggestions for those “lucky” enough to be chosen to the committee:
- End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan immediately, without qualifications. Our soldiers are still getting killed and wounded, and a large percentage of them are from poor families. We are still spending a bundle of money on these follies, and there is little hope that our investment to date will yield any tangible benefits.
- Force Congress to conduct proper oversight of our nation’s expenditures by reassessing all entitlement programs to determine whether they are wasteful. Eliminate them if targeted and deserving beneficiaries are not receiving aid.
- Eliminate Social Security benefits for those with a net worth over a reasonable amount. If you have a net worth of more than a few million dollars, you will not need a monthly check of $2,000 from the Social Security Administration.
- Raise the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) salary levels to a substantially higher amount. This will mostly impact highly compensated individuals.
- Restructure the tax code by creating simpler tax tables. Eliminate the most abusive loopholes for individuals and corporations that enable them to avoid taxation. Install a minimum alternative tax for all corporations.
- Eliminate Medicare for individuals with a certain net worth. Wealthy Americans do not expect to use public health care after retirement.
- Dramatically end foreign aid except for humanitarian purposes. We are failing to take care of our own needy citizens, yet we are granting billions of dollars to all types of projects overseas. That does not add up.
- We should all be supportive of a strong military; it ensures our freedom. But, it is widely known that there is a ton of waste in defense spending that needs to be dealt with. Also, there needs to be more accountability relating to ongoing defense projects. Under no circumstances should there be a reduction in benefits for our beloved veterans.
- As I have previously mentioned, we need to create a public works program similar to the one established during the Great Depression.
Every special interest group can provide reasons why its mission is the most important and why it should be spared come time for cuts. And, I wonder whether there is anybody in our government with the courage to look past political pressure of lobbyists and do the right things for our country. Frankly, we are being mismanaged financially and this behavior will cause severe hardship in the near future if it does not change.
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