Saturday, August 6, 2011

Common sense applied to our nation's budget problems ...

In thinking through our nation's problems,  I offer up these common sense observations:

1.  When our federal government acted responsibly in the past and balanced our budgets,  they taxed Americans at an overall average rate of 18% of our nation's income.  And they spent about 18% of our nation's income in the way of federal spending.   18% IN.  18% OUT.  Budgets balanced.

2.  Right now,  2011, our federal government is spending 24% of our nation's income,  and taxing us at 14%.

3.  Right now,  our federal government is taxing the 400 wealthiest among us (avg $280 M in annual income) at an average rate of 18%.  Over 32% of those 400 are paying 15% or lower.  The wealthiest are paying taxes at rates that only equal,  and often are less than our overall historical 18% average.

From those observations,  these common sense solutions should follow:

1.  If we've balanced revenues and spending in the past at 18%,  we need to get both our revenues and spending back to the 18% level.  This entails cutting spending,  AND raising revenues.

2.  If we need to get back to 18%,  and its fair that the wealthiest among us pay higher rates than those less wealthy,  then the wealthiest need to be paying taxes at rates far higher than 18%.

These are very common sense,  factual observations with common sense conclusions as to what needs to happen to solve our budget problem.  Unfortunately,  the Democratic Party is significantly closer to a common sense approach than the Republican Party.  That is just plain fact and can not be argued otherwise,  rationally.   As a country,  we must cut expenses and we must raise taxes on the wealthy.  We can argue as to what expenses to cut.  And we can argue about who has to bear what proportion of the burden in raising revenues,  it should be clearly evident that the overriding solution is both cutting expenses and raising revenues.

Right now,  neither party has it exactly right.  But Republicans are out in left field.  Democrats are in the infield,  but need to be closer to home plate.

Democrats want $4 Trillion in budget changes, over 10 years.  $3 Trillion in cuts,  $1 Trillion in revenue raising.  The number needs to be higher,  on both sides of the equation.  We need even deeper cuts,  and larger tax increases.

Republicans only want cuts.  And they will not raise taxes.  They also want a balanced budget amendment.  To solve the Republican equation would take our country to a point of 14% taxes IN,  14% expenditures OUT.  The deep cuts necessary to get us there would throw our country into a depression.

THE rational solution is 18/18.  Politicians with a plan to get us to 18/18 are worthy of our support.  Those are primarily Democrats.  The irrational solution is 14/14.  Politicians who want to get us to that point are simply clueless to the damage that would do to our economic future.  Those are primarily Republicans.

Senator Richard Burr walks the Republican party line.  While as a thinking,  rational person,  he may very well feel differently,  he only does what is demanded of him by the Republican leadership.  Richard Burr follows directions from the Senatorial Republican head,  Republican Mitch McConnell,  from the state of Kentucky.  Republican Senator Richard Burr does the bidding of the citizens of Kentucky.  He takes the irrational path, the path that will destroy our economy.

North Carolina deserves better than Republican Senator Richard Burr.

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