Government spending is out of control. No matter your political affiliation, the fact is that the United States government is currently spending nearly a trillion dollars more annually than they collect in receipts. Even though annual budget deficits are predicted to decrease, our nation is far from the budget surpluses we once knew.
Political Warfare Prevents Realistic Budget Solutions
Before the inauguration of George W. Bush, the United States annual budget maintained a $280 billion surplus. By 2006, annual budget deficits increased to $500 billion, even after the George W. Bush administration raided social security surpluses in order to cover additional government spending. Now, the current President and members of Congress have a tough job ahead of them to reduce annual deficits in order to slow the growing national debt. Yet, due to the emphasis congressional officials place on re-election rather than transformational budget leadership, it is unlikely that budget deficits will disappear unless the future of the United States becomes more important than congressional self-interest. Meanwhile, comprehensive solutions that can actually reduce budget deficits and slow the growth of the national debt will be stalemated by extreme political warfare. However, if you take political warfare out of the equation and instead focus on temporary or marginal changes, realistic budget solutions are possible.
Solution 1: Overhaul Social Security and Medicare
The baby boomer generation is retiring. Job growth is basically stalled. Therefore, a decline in workforce equals less receipts, yet expenditures continue to increase for these programs. Commonsense lends to adjusting these programs back to being self-sufficient.
Solution 2: Stimulate Job Growth
Reducing unemployment rates is necessary in order to decrease citizen dependence on expensive social programs. Each political party has different ideas (i.e. reduce corporate taxes, increase small business loans, etc.) about how to generate job growth, but in short, the solution is somewhere in the middle of the liberal and conservative ideological continuum.
Solution 3: Simplify the Tax Code
Simplifying the United States tax code reduces the loopholes and inaccuracies that currently result in billions of lost receipts for the government. Not to mention, I, an average citizen, should be able to file a tax return without spending upwards of $300 for tax preparation. In other words, the tax code needs to be simple and transparent.
Solution 4: Reduce Funding for The Department of Defense
In 2001, the defense spending budget was $301 billion. Now, the defense spending budget is over $738 billion, and the United States simply cannot sustain this kind of budget. The Procurement and R & D departments need to be the focus of these spending cuts. The budgets for the basic operations of the military including salaries, training, education, housing, Tricare and pensions should be left alone.
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