Budgeting or Political Posturing

Everything has a price - but should it?There are now at least three budgets that are being offered for public consumption. There is the Paul Ryan budget which claims to save trillions of dollars by 2021, President Obama’s budget proposal which claims to save trillions of dollars by 2022 and finally the People’s Budget which claims to save trillions by 2021.

It would be considerably easier to predict the winner of the super bowl in 2021 or 2022 than predicting the exact saving under any of these budget proposals. Congress and the administration can’t even decide on the budget for the next six months, let alone the next decade or so! We will go through three Presidential election cycles and six House of Representative cycles by 2022. We are talking about political theatre here folks!

Any time frame for budgeting that is over one year is highly suspect. Most budgets in either government or private business are an exercise of futility. There are just so many possible contingencies that you have a better chance of getting accurate information from a weatherman.

A budget proposal over one year is simply a vision statement; it suggests who is going to carry the baggage for the foreseeable future. It is possible to enact laws now that will have profound effects down the road. There is also a huge difference between eliminating the National debt and balancing the yearly budget.

I am not a trained economist, but the only common sense way to reduce or eliminate the National debt is to stop borrowing money from the privately held Federal Reserve. I understand that is a simplistic statement to a very complex issue, but it doesn’t distract from the basic truth.
To balance the budget is also a highly charged political issue. We often hear about “shared sacrifice”; the question is who is going to do the sacrificing. It is my personal belief that we actually have a revenue problem and not a deficit problem. Between the legal loopholes and outright tax avoidance we lose billions of dollars in revenue yearly. A myopic one sided view that only looks at deficit spending is certainly not egalitarian.

I am certainly conservative in regard to spending, I like my tax dollar spent as well as anyone, but I am also determined to see that we truly have “shared sacrifice” and not just picking on the low hanging fruit and forcing them to carry the baggage into the next decade.

Why should the vision for our future be limited to ideologues who argue over more or less government? That fact is we are already highly controlled; the question is who is going to have the control: government by the people or a group of private entities. I’ll take my chances with a regulated and transparent government whose interest should be the public good and not maximizing profit.

As a vision and not a budget, we should consider a combination of factors in mapping our future, sound money management and protecting programs that have been proven to be beneficial and cost effective. We also need to look at the revenue side; which should include true “shared sacrifice”.

(1) Individual income tax policies that truly ask all income levels to pay their fair share of the tax burden and taxing capital gains and dividends as ordinary income.

(2) Corporate tax reforms that tax income as it is earned, disallowing offshore profit centers and stop government incentives for shipping jobs overseas.

(3) Demand a true public healthcare bill that is not just an insurance bill or a political bill. A Medicare for all that brings true benefits to the public. We need a medical system that negotiates Rx payment with pharmaceutical companies and addresses the other healthcare provider factors that drive up healthcare cost.

(4) Raise the taxable limitation on Social security and even increase the benefits based on contributions by the employees. If all Americans are part of Social Security its future is secure.

(5) Bring our troops home and refuse to believe it is unpatriotic to say so. Reduce our military footprint around the world and insist that military spending be based on sound well throughout principles and not pork barrel favors handed out to specific politicians.

(6) Invest in job creation, education and human rights now so that we will have the resources to be competitive in the future and finally for earth’s sake start to recognize our environmental challenges. I am suggesting that we not only be color blind, but culturally sensitive.

None of the above will be seriously considered without publicly funded elections. “Budgets are more than a collection of numbers; they are a statement of our values”.

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