Monday, November 29, 2010

Another Good Idea on Deficit Reduction

I know I'm poking the "Mudge" bear with posts like this one, but I continue to believe that his allergy to ANY proposal that results in more money going to the government is fine rhetoric but unlikely policy.  In this article by economist Martin Feldstein, a common sense proposal is put forward that lumps a number of "deductions" together (including the hated home mortgage deduction) and then sets a cap on how much of the total can be deducted based on adjusted gross income.

I would not support a proposal like this unless whatever additional revenue it would generate for the federal treasury were matched at a rate of AT LEAST 5:1 by spending cuts.

But I do think this is a worthwhile proposal. 


Mudge said...

Believe it or not, I do not have a problem with paying taxes. I have a problem with people who take those taxes with a mindset that it is theirs to do as they please with absolutely no regard, and in the case of this Admin and Congress, damned near total disdain, for what it took to provide those funds. I think President Bush should have asked Americans to ante up a bit more to support the war in response to 9/11. The only ones screaming would have been liberals with their "War is not the answer" bumper stickers. We could have started by having ALL Americans ante up.

But I have serious reservations about giving this Administration, who repeatedly refers to tax dollars as their money and tax breaks as the government "giving" money to the taxpayers. The runaway spending spree this Admin and Congress have been on calls for anything BUT giving one more penny. They need to change their spending behavior FIRST and they need to demonstrate a respect for the citizenry who funds their very jobs FIRST.

If, if, IF they were do demonstrate those changes that Mudge can believe in, and the tax increase is accompanied by even larger spending reductions and a declaration by the President, the Senate Majority Leader and Speaker of the House that this money is the taxpayers' money and that most of it comes from the wealthiest 2% of Americans, then I would endorse a modest increase tied to specific objectives associated with reducing our deficit. Without the prerequisites, they can go do things to themselves that I won't mention here.

By the way, there is some reporting lately that just holding spending growth to inflation would zero the deficit by sometime in the next 15 years. Just can't find it now. Much to this Admin/Congress's chagrin, there are alternatives beyond just raising taxes on the despicable wealthy.

The Conservative Wahoo said...

Mudge--I believe you'll have a very difficult time finding credible support for your final paragraph.

Mudge said...

You are correct. I horribly mis-spoke, er, mis-commented. It was to balance the budget. Hardly the same as clearing the deficit. Nevertheless, here is the reference (from

According to that analysis, "it's simple to balance the budget without higher taxes," Indeed, the budget can be balanced without any dramatic spending cuts. All that's required is to "limit spending growth and allow revenues to catch up." Under a hard spending freeze at current levels, says the Center, citing CBO numbers, the budget would be balanced by 2016. And if spending growth is limited to 2 percent, the budget would be balanced by 2020. This is true even if the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are extended.

The Conservative Wahoo said...

If what you cited is to be believed, then it is I who is uninformed. The deficit is the difference between revenue and spending in any one year. Again--if what is stated at powerline is to be believed, then the "Budget would be balanced" as they state. Your assertion would have been correct.

I look at our mounting debt as more of a problem than the deficit--the debt being the sum total of annual deficits. We will not "limit spending" our way out of the debt mess we're in, and any appreciable decline in debt that would flow from a "spending freeze" alone would take decades to bear fruit.

Mudge said...

Did you see how I stealthily employed false humility to get you to recant your vicious assault on my credibility?

Like candy from a baby.

Mudge said...

BTW, all kidding aside, I agree with you on the debt.

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