Sunday, November 14, 2010

Take National Matters into Your Own Hands--YOU Solve the Deficit!

The graphic above make crystal clear the difference between a billion, and a trillion. America is projected to have a $1.3 trillion deficit by 2030

Posted by: Noel Jones

This is so cool! Click on this interactive budget tool published in The New York Times and fix the national deficit yourself!

Keep in mind that:

Our national deficit = how far in the red we go in one year's budget. And it does not count our promises to citizens for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Our national debt = all the money we've borrowed and not paid back from other governments (mainly China) over the years to cover our deficits year after year.

What do you think we should cut? (Make sure to click the tool first to see the different line items before you answer that).


noel jones said...

I ended up with a surplus--woohoo!

tachitup said...

Me too, but I sure didn't like what I had to do to get there. No way to do it without some pain for many people. Try to spread the pain around.
Good luck, 112th.

noel jones said...

tachitup--amen. good way to put it. painful but necessary--the nice thing about the tool is to see that it's POSSIBLE. it really makes it obvious that the only thing between erasing the deficit and our current situation is self-interested partisan bickering in congress.

if we can do it, THEY should be able to do it. that's what they were elected to do.

noel jones said...

has no one else erased the deficit yet? take a whack at it--it's therapeutic!

Dennis R. Lieb said...

Fixating on the deficit is a straw horse. The question for forward thinkers becomes what are we going to do with a balanced budget? Because a lot of people don't really want to do anything except perpetuate the status quo.

I'm not against balancing the budget but the sad fact is we could get pretty damn close tomorrow by getting out of all the foreign military adventures that bring no value back to this country. But then having largely eliminated the military entanglements, there's the untidy problem of having no vision for the future and no bold initiatives to invest in if we did retrieve that revenue.

So again, what is the value of a balanced budget? We could provide health care to all, but that would entail eliminating the ideological bickering over how the system is structured. Other countries seem to be more pragmatic about the basic human right to health care. Maybe they can teach us something?

We could make a nice dent in the deficit if we stopped subsidizing the dinasaur industries of oil and gas exploration and instead let them conduct business in the "free market" manner that the capitalist ideologues love to taut. Even the IEA says that elimination of fossil fuel subsidies alone would reduce greenhouse gas emmission 5-6% globally. Of course that would mean no more big campaign contributions from Big Coal, Big Oil and Big Gas.

With a balanced budget we could confidently move forward (not that we can afford not to in any event) with leveling the playing field for renewable energy and conservation measures with things like feed-in tarrifs, which helped make Germany - not the sunniest place on earth - the world leader in solar electric generation capacity and technology.

Or we could finally get serious about a national transportation system that included passenger rail since it is obvious and undeniable that we are headed for disaster with the airline industry, cars, roads and their associated maintenance costs as conventionally obtained crude oil depletes and the capital costs of road system maintenance become untenable. As we know, America has no Plan B for our transportation future. This is a very big country. It will seem to get a lot bigger when we can't move around it in the ways we've been used to.

One hundred years ago the Pa RR got to work building a two track tunnel under the Hudson River to service NYC. Last month the Governor of NJ used a pen stroke to cancel the only new rail tunnel project into the city since then and the largest federal transporation investment in the history of the country.

We aren't serious about any of these things. Without seriousness or the ability for the country's leaders to form a reasonable consensus about what our problems are and how to deal with them the budget issue is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.