Budget Debt
The US Government spends about $3.7T a year and generates revenues of about $2.5T a year. A $1.2T annual deficit in 2012. In the last five years, Sequestration cuts and increased revenues have reduced the deficit. If anyone wants to know why we have a budget problem in this country, all you have to do is look at the running debt clock. We are now at $20T in debt.! But, if big numbers alone don't get your attention, then lets put the $20T in perspective, it represents over 100% of GDP. The nation owed $10.6 trillion on Jan. 20, 2009, when President Obama was sworn in, and he doubled it – more than Bush piled up in two terms. There is bipartisan agreement that we cannot sustain this level of debt. There is also bipartisan agreement that we must correct the outflows exceeding inflows that drives the debt higher every second (see debt clock) . Everyone who manages a checkbook has seen this problem before and knows how to correct it - reduce expenses and increase income. Increasing revenues is critical to the solution, but will not have an immediate impact. Reducing expenses is also critical to the solution and can generate immediate impact. It is the only thing in your control instantly! Everything else we here about this subject beyond these two facts is just noise and should be ignored. The political left and right cannot agree on how to correct this problem. Doing something is also better than doing nothing, which is what this stalemate is giving us now. The left solution to our problem is to increase taxes on the rich to increase income. Currently the top 20% of income earners pays 80% of the federal tax burden. So do we want them to pay 100%? 110%? 120%? Maybe just write the check every year for the entire cost of government, whatever it is? Clearly this is not a solution. The right wants us to reduce spending and taxes, which was also a poor solution in a recessionary economy, but in a growing economy in 2017 has promise. But, the truth is we must do both (reduce expenses and increase income), we must do it now and it will not be easy. All the political hot air outside these two facts is simply a distraction from the difficult but obvious answer. To increase income we must immediately restructure the tax code to foster a growing economy. Trump did that in Dec 2017. A growing economy will usually increase income (tax revenues for the government) over the 10 years, but not immediately. The Trump tax reform due to money overseas that will be returning home, will have immediate positive revenue impacts. To immediately begin to impact our budget and debt problem whiling anticipating increased revenues we also must immediately and dramatically cut spending. That MUST include discretionary spending AND entitlements (Social Security, Medicare & Obamacare) which represent 90% of the problem. The left will say you are hurting education, the homeless, healthcare of all Americans, the elderly and on and on. The right will shout "we are already taxed enough". All This whining MUST be ignored. No one wants to hurt themselves, their families or their neighbors We have no choice but to intelligently make these difficult decisions while minimizing the pain. But there will be pain. And our representatives MUST ACT NOW. It is a dereliction of duty if they do not. The 2 year budget passed Feb 2018 does not do this. It was a purely bi-partisan negotiation (which is good) but gives everything to everyone and makes no tough decisions on spending. Below you can watch the ongoing debate on this critical issue. And hopefully see the solution we need develop.

Veteran Affairs Budget Proposal Would Boost Overall Spending

5/30/17
from The Wall Street Journal,
5/29/17:

As Numbers Sink In, Concerns Rise Over Trump’s Veterans Affairs Budget.

President Donald Trump is proposing more money for the Department of Veterans Affairs, but veterans groups and lawmakers are lining up against some of the administration’s priorities, especially cuts in payments to disabled veterans who are unable to work and increases for an outside care program that has yet to be formulated. Mr. Trump’s 2018 proposed budget would boost overall VA spending to $186.5 billion, an almost 6% increase. But as advocates and lawmakers of both parties have taken a closer look, they have grown concerned about the administration’s plans to reorder spending within the department. Cuts include plans to round down veterans’ cost-of-living increase payments to the nearest dollar and to cut off some payments for older veterans who can’t work because of injuries, a proposal that has spurred complaints.

Some veterans who have partial disabilities that prevent them from working currently qualify for “individual unemployability” benefits. Those vets can get that benefit even after they hit retirement age and technically can begin drawing Social Security. The Trump budget would end so-called “double dipping” and push aging veterans off that benefit, making them rely on Social Security instead. But advocacy groups say the argument for doing so is flawed. Disabled, nonworking veterans likely haven’t paid into Social Security before reaching retirement age, limiting or foreclosing their ability to collect, they said. “Many have been severely disabled as a result of their military service and unable to work since the day of their discharge,” Amvets, one of the largest veterans advocacy groups, said in a statement. In a statement last week, Charles Schmidt, the commander of the American Legion, said, “The administration’s budget for the VA would effectively lower the earnings of our most vulnerable veterans. This is absolutely unacceptable to us.”

A representative of the Vietnam Veterans of America said his organization fielded calls well past midnight on budget day, last Tuesday, from concerned elderly veterans. Dr. David Shulkin, the VA secretary, defended the proposed cuts when speaking with reporters after a House hearing last week. VA officials said the budget will allow them to hire thousands of new health-care professionals and aggressively reduce veteran homelessness. “I think that people can understand that paying veterans who are above age 80, in some cases, unemployment benefits, isn’t what makes sense to the average American,” he said.

More From The Wall Street Journal (subscription required):

As Numbers Sink In, Concerns Rise Over Trump’s Veterans Affairs Budget


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