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Thread: So, where do you cut spending?

  1. #1
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    Default So, where do you cut spending?

    I can't seem to get anyone to point out some spending cuts that aren't back door, dishonest tax increase equivilent to someone.

    If one is collecting Social Security and "they" change the CPI/COLA calculation so that one gets less of an increase every year, isn't that the same thing as raising taxes that amount for that person?

    If we are spending it now, and we cut that spending, we are taking money out of the hands of somebody. We can cut spending and a number of people lose their jobs behind it. How does that help?

    The government can do two things: it can put money into the economy or it can take money out of the economy. Tax increases give it more money to put into the economy and help keep money circulating. Spending cuts take money out of the economy and out of circulation.

    The "books" may balance by spending cuts and/or tax increases, but "how" we balance the books is important.
    May be some rough water ahead. We're getting new captain.

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    What happens if the government gets out of the milk business?
    Conferences at the top level are always courteous. Name calling is left to the foreign ministers. (Averell Harriman)

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    We may find out soon.

    Everyone seems to think spending cuts will only impact someone else.

    There is a limit to how much we can cut spending and not have severe economic consequences. There's a similar limit to raising taxes, but I think it's a much larger amount.

    There seems to be a concept that most government spending is wasted. No doubt some is, but I suspect that's less than is generally thought to be. Just cutting unemployment has consequences. Raising the age for Medicare eligibility only shifts cost; doesn't cut any, as the 65 and 66 year olds don't disappear themselves.

    Realistically, we can try to keep spending from going up. We can increase revenue carefully, but enough to cover our present obligations. That at least will eliminate the deficit and keep the debt from rising. It will buy us time to patiently and carefully find cuts that don't cause harm. Let's not kill the patient with the cure.
    May be some rough water ahead. We're getting new captain.

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    You haven't been reading John. I as well as others have suggested for quite awhile starting with military bases around the World; not all of them, just one third. Bases in States having Tea Party Senators and Reps should be high on the list, too.

  5. #5

    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    10 percent in defense spending.

    60 billion in one area

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    I think we should start scaling back military spending. However, that needs to be some on a carefull schedule to allow the companies impacted time to shift to consumer products in order to minimize the impact of the cuts on employment, etc. One way to do that is to shift military spending to domestic civilian infrastructure (highways, publically owned railroads, public power infrastructure, etc.)

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    10% cut in "defense" spending every year for the next five, with the complex, hideously expensive weapons systems first. Do an audit of the Pentagon's procurement work and throw some of the corrupt former-military fixers in jail.

    10% cut in agricultural subsidies every year for the next five for commodity crops (cotton, sugar, etc.) that are not in short supply, with irrigated crops in arid regions (e.g. alfalfa hay in the southwest) first on the list.

    10% cut (as above) in programs that subsidize the conversion of ag land to residential subdivisions.

    Charge market-rates for permits to use public land (grazing, mining, drilling, etc.) and end direct subsidies to Big Oil.

    End federal grants to states and municipalities that are used directly or as in-lieu funding for corporate development incentives.

    End subsidies for the export of vital US commodities.

    End tax deductions for donations to college sports programs and similar uncharitable crap.

    Cut Homeland Security grants to state and local police for "anti-terrorist" junk such as invasive surveillance gear, heavy weapons, and armored cars.

    Raise the capital gains rate to at least 20%.

    Make estate taxes more progressive.

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    Closing bases involves little of that, Todd. Out troops can to transferred and absorbed elsewhere. Supplies planned for shipment to closed bases can be redirected elsewhere. Civilians no longer employed at those bases are the problem of the host country involved, not ours'. If the host country wants to pay for operating the base, we might consider that letting them do that. True, closing stateside bases would require more coordination; remembering that the intent is to save money, ands well as instruct Tea Party representation a lesson in back scratching.

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Scheuer View Post
    Bases in States having Tea Party Senators and Reps should be high on the list, too.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Scheuer View Post
    ...closing stateside bases would require more coordination; remembering that the intent is to save money, ands well as instruct Tea Party representation a lesson in back scratching.
    So much anger.

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    Abolish the TSA!
    Steve Martinsen

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    Congressional health bennies. Make em buy it like the rest of us, or give us the same bennies...
    Govt. salaries could be lopped by 20% and they'd still largely be over paid.
    Military bases.
    But I think that instead of "cuts" what needs to be done is make programs more efficient, less redundant, and more accountable for their actions from the top down. If the Farm Bureau (For instance) gets "caught" spending $500,000 on a christmas party at a strip joint (for instance) they should be "fined" that amount, off the top of the next budget, with no increase.

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    Anger, Meleft8? Not at all; just making cuts among the folks who want them most. It's called "government by the people, for the people".

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Scheuer View Post
    You haven't been reading John. I as well as others have suggested for quite awhile starting with military bases around the World; not all of them, just one third. Bases in States having Tea Party Senators and Reps should be high on the list, too.
    Bringing them home to build and repair infrastructure in the continent US rather than Afghanistan? It's got to be hugely less expensive and beneficial it might even meet general approval from both sides although we'd miss Brian's photos.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    How about guarding our schools? Battle hardened infantrymen vs local whack jobs.
    Conferences at the top level are always courteous. Name calling is left to the foreign ministers. (Averell Harriman)

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    A battle hardened whack job??

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    To cut spending you have to fire people.

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    A battle hardened whack job??
    Seen a few of those, too.
    Conferences at the top level are always courteous. Name calling is left to the foreign ministers. (Averell Harriman)

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    It would be interesting to do a defense budget based on what we need to do to keep the nation safe. Starting with a clean sheet of paper and with no "sacred cows". I'm rational enough to know that's never going to happen, but somewhere we have to stop planning to fight two WW2 sized wars simultaneously. Main battle tanks, and nuclear attack submarines, F22 fighters with no defined enemies is just crazy.

    If I remember right, we spend more than the next 22 nations on defense spending. Maybe we should just decide to only spend more than the top 5.
    The same amount spent on infrastructure would return much more to the economy than spending on war materials.

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    We don't need to cut no steenking spending. http://nation.foxnews.com/barack-oba...-workers-raise
    Conferences at the top level are always courteous. Name calling is left to the foreign ministers. (Averell Harriman)

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    John, bookmark this thread. There are many good suggestions on where to start right here already. No one has said it will not hurt.




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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    To cut spending you have to fire people.
    An inconvenient truth. All spending cuts will hit someone in the wallet. All meaningful spending cuts in "social" departments will have to hit service delivery workers, because that is where your spending is. And consolidating services the way "real" businesses do will hit rural areas harder than urban ones, because economies of scale and sustainability only come through aggregating volume.

    Take your top 5 spending departments, and force each to cut 5% this fiscal year, while holding all other spending areas to 0% increases. In this year, develop zero-based budgets for all departments, aligning with their core businesses - aligning budget targets with an overall Government plan for the core business it ought to be in.

    Note - sometimes, that core business is actually supporting regional economies ... which will mean delivering services "inefficiently." Small towns continuing to exist is a "public good" too - and of the type which elects governments.

    Truth be told, each department will already know where the "fat" is. In fact, they've probably proposed those very cuts for years to the politicians, but have had them knocked back because of the impact in constituencies. All government spending, after all, serves more than one purpose - its nominal one (road building, schools etc), but also politically sensitive "rewards" or "regional supports." Your bureaucrats know where these untouchable spending buckets are, and most of the management would give their eyeteeth to be allowed to kill them, and do their actual jobs well. DAMHIKT.

    So use this as an opportunity for replacing "legacy" ways of delivering essential services with ones which meet upcoming needs. You'll never have a better opportunity to ignore political sacred cows, discard bad practices, and rebuild on best practices.
    Last edited by TomF; 12-29-2012 at 08:54 PM.
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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    Cut spending and increase revenue by:

    10% across the board spending cuts ---- excluding Social Security. Index overall government spending to GDP.

    5 year freeze on any increases in Social Security Benefits.

    5% tax increase on persons making $50,000 +/yr. Said increase to be used to pay off government debt only.

    Stop foreign wars, reduce defense budgets by an appropriate amount.

    End the “war on drugs”--- legalize pot and sell it over the counter at the pharmacy---tax the hell out of it.

    Government will always seek to expand and spend all the money that it has---and borrow more. The only way to increase the efficiency of government is to reduce the amount of money available to it.
    Even a fish wouldn’t get in trouble if it kept it's mouth shut.

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oysterhouse View Post
    ...Government will always seek to expand and spend all the money that it has---and borrow more. The only way to increase the efficiency of government is to reduce the amount of money available to it.
    Government is citizens. Services exist and expand because citizens want them. Most bureaucrats I know - and I've worked with civil servants across my country - are quite angry that they're told on the one hand to "run government like a business," and on the other hand are explicitly denied the permission to cut, streamline or amalgamate services in ways which would actually make a meaningful difference.

    I work in Canada as a health policy wonk. All across Canada, Health departments spend upwards of 40% of the entire Provincial budgets. I expect that Provinces could cut costs by something in the order of 35% tomorrow, if the public would allow the governments of the day to remain in power after making those sweeping changes. While actually improving patient safety, and health outcomes. And that's before steps to make citizens accountable for more of the financial impact of their own lifestyle choices.

    It won't happen - but not because civil servants don't know how. Citizens won't permit some services to be run they way the private sector operates them.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    I am all for closing ALL of our foreign bases and eliminating the personel. My only concern about massive military cuts, which I would like to see is they will disrupt our economy. That is the only reason I suggested phasing them in slowly. If it was left to me, I would reduce the military to a small cadre of 100,000 or less in total.

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrleft8 View Post
    Congressional health bennies. Make em buy it like the rest of us, or give us the same bennies...
    Govt. salaries could be lopped by 20% and they'd still largely be over paid.
    Military bases.
    But I think that instead of "cuts" what needs to be done is make programs more efficient, less redundant, and more accountable for their actions from the top down. If the Farm Bureau (For instance) gets "caught" spending $500,000 on a christmas party at a strip joint (for instance) they should be "fined" that amount, off the top of the next budget, with no increase.
    I am glad to report a small cut, but a cut just the same that has already taken place.

    My health insurance premiums for Blue Cross become effective Feb. 1 each year. I have always received a notice late December advising me of changes in my pension that take affect January 1 and then another notice late January telling me what changes take place Feb. 1. This year the one notice that advised of January 1 changes also advised of Feb. 1 changes, saving the cost of the second mailing which I don't see as harming anyone.

    This indicates that the administration is already looking for ways to be more efficient.

    I agree we can cut military/defense by a lot and still be safe. My recollection is there were some shenanagans involved in putting all those new screening machines in airports, and I doubt they make us any safer.

    I think we could legalize drugs and treat them like alcohol. We then have some control over the quality, we get tax revenue from them, and we cut the spending on enforcing laws that we can't seem to enforce. Perhaps we could then spend less money incarcerating our youth and more money educating them.

    My suggestion is we look at all the "cuts" carefully, and completely, after we raise taxes. At some point we have to be more than revenue neutral each year, as we need more coming in than our current spending if we are to pay down any of the debt.

    Many things that will cut federal spending will increase state spending and state taxes. Many will cut into the ability of the middle and lower class to consume, which will be bad for business.

    I also think that some money can be cut from one place and used to better purpose elsewhere, such as repairing bridges.

    I believe it was Henry Ford that said something to the effect that no job is too big when you break it down to small parts. I think that applies here. If we break this into smaller parts and establish small committies to ponder how best to cut/re-direct spending in specific areas, we are much more likely to have wise choices.
    May be some rough water ahead. We're getting new captain.

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    Mr. TomF;
    Your points are well taken. I think that we can agree that politicians, through their efforts to garner votes, usually manage to destroy the efficiency of everything they touch ??

    Allow me to edit my comment thusly:
    Politicians will always seek to expand government and spend all the money available---and borrow more. The only way to increase the efficiency of government is to reduce the amount of money available for politicians to screw with.
    Even a fish wouldn’t get in trouble if it kept it's mouth shut.

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    To cut spending you have to fire people.
    That's a possibility, unless you cut carefully and wisely. The single mailing this year that replaced two mailings of all prievious years that I mentioned above didn't cost any jobs.

    If we cut spending in ways that directly cost people jobs, or simply cost people some ability to consume, which leads to less demand, which leads to job loss, you are correct. This is why any cuts must be made with great care.
    May be some rough water ahead. We're getting new captain.

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    Quote Originally Posted by fishrswim View Post
    It would be interesting to do a defense budget based on what we need to do to keep the nation safe. Starting with a clean sheet of paper and with no "sacred cows". I'm rational enough to know that's never going to happen, but somewhere we have to stop planning to fight two WW2 sized wars simultaneously. Main battle tanks, and nuclear attack submarines, F22 fighters with no defined enemies is just crazy.

    If I remember right, we spend more than the next 22 nations on defense spending. Maybe we should just decide to only spend more than the top 5.
    The same amount spent on infrastructure would return much more to the economy than spending on war materials.
    The military budget has taken on a mind of its own. Remember the $400 hammers? I read an article that explained those. It said we were giving the Pentagon more money than it could spend, and the Pentagon was hiding it within the computer among all purchases. This meant that every purchase showed up as $400 more than the actual price. Didn't notice it in a tank invoice, but it stood out when added to the cost of a screwdriver.

    I've also heard often that the military features a lot of cost overruns which mean the opening bids for contracts don't really mean anything.

    If we could get serious people to take serious looks into this and other places, I'm sure they can find cuts in spending or places where money can be moved to some other project or purpose with better results.

    This brings us a second question that maybe deserves its own thread but seems to fit here.

    Assuming we can get Congress to actually take the appropriate steps here, what is a reasonable amount to pay on the debt each year? If we manage to stop it growing past $17 trillion, 10% would be 1.7 trillion. That seems impossible. If we can do 1/3 of that, we're looking at 30 years to get rid of the debt.

    Under the best scenario, it may take half a century to pay off this debt. The longer it takes to get started, the longer it will take to pay off.
    May be some rough water ahead. We're getting new captain.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    An inconvenient truth. All spending cuts will hit someone in the wallet. All meaningful spending cuts in "social" departments will have to hit service delivery workers, because that is where your spending is. And consolidating services the way "real" businesses do will hit rural areas harder than urban ones, because economies of scale and sustainability only come through aggregating volume.

    Take your top 5 spending departments, and force each to cut 5% this fiscal year, while holding all other spending areas to 0% increases. In this year, develop zero-based budgets for all departments, aligning with their core businesses - aligning budget targets with an overall Government plan for the core business it ought to be in.

    Note - sometimes, that core business is actually supporting regional economies ... which will mean delivering services "inefficiently." Small towns continuing to exist is a "public good" too - and of the type which elects governments.

    Truth be told, each department will already know where the "fat" is. In fact, they've probably proposed those very cuts for years to the politicians, but have had them knocked back because of the impact in constituencies. All government spending, after all, serves more than one purpose - its nominal one (road building, schools etc), but also politically sensitive "rewards" or "regional supports." Your bureaucrats know where these untouchable spending buckets are, and most of the management would give their eyeteeth to be allowed to kill them, and do their actual jobs well. DAMHIKT.

    So use this as an opportunity for replacing "legacy" ways of delivering essential services with ones which meet upcoming needs. You'll never have a better opportunity to ignore political sacred cows, discard bad practices, and rebuild on best practices.
    That seems to have a degree of good sense init.
    May be some rough water ahead. We're getting new captain.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    Without exception, any government service other than super-expensive military hardware has the majority of its spending in remuneration of one kind or another. In Canadian healthcare, for instance, salaries and other forms of health provider pay account for between 70-85% of the total spend, depending who's counting and how. That's service providers, mind, not administrators. Multiple national and regional studies show administration costs for this are only between 2-3% ... in fact, that's part of why I personally feel that Canadian health care costs too much; it's under-managed.

    The premise is no different in areas like child welfare, education, or other social services; the real costs are in provider salaries ... which individually aren't as large as most non-civil-servants think they are. And cutting them will have a significant financial impact especially in rural areas, where those professional salaries have a disproportionate impact on the local economies compared to bigger cities (which have more diversified economies, and more professional opportunities).
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

  31. #31
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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oysterhouse View Post
    Cut spending and increase revenue by:

    10% across the board spending cuts ---- excluding Social Security. Index overall government spending to GDP.

    5 year freeze on any increases in Social Security Benefits.

    5% tax increase on persons making $50,000 +/yr. Said increase to be used to pay off government debt only.

    Stop foreign wars, reduce defense budgets by an appropriate amount.

    End the “war on drugs”--- legalize pot and sell it over the counter at the pharmacy---tax the hell out of it.

    Government will always seek to expand and spend all the money that it has---and borrow more. The only way to increase the efficiency of government is to reduce the amount of money available to it.
    Across the board is a hatchet job. We need more precision. Across the board 10% cuts will take food out of the mouths of a lot of children, and that is food that will not be bought to feed those kids, and that will hurt the businesses that make the food. Do you cut pensions of retirees? do you cut unemployment benefits by 10%?

    You're basic premise is correct; the governmentn spends the money it has providing services to the people. If spending goes down, people lose services.

    We do not have the luxury of starting where we would like to start. We have to start with a debt that will reach $17 trillion before we put anything into law.
    May be some rough water ahead. We're getting new captain.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    1.Stop all foreign aid.

    2.Stop all the military intervention around the world.

    3.Shut down/bring back all troops of foreign military bases in the 100 plus countries around the world.

    4.Freeze/set retroactively all gov pay to 2006 levels.

    5.Set gov budget to 2006 levels.

    I could go on but this would be a good start.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    Mr. Smith;
    No mater what we do it's going to hurt, and because of that we will probably do nothing. Our society will continue to deflect and postpone responsibility for the financial mess that we now find ourselves in. Why pay now when someone else will pay later?
    Even a fish wouldn’t get in trouble if it kept it's mouth shut.

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    Here's a planthat's already in Congress's menu. It changes the budget to a baseline basis, rather than the automatic increases it now employs. But the demo's haven't passed a budget in 4 years, you think they'll start now?

    http://www.conniemack.com/issues/penny-plan/

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    Default Re: So, where do you cut spending?

    No tax relief for religious organizations would be a welcome start.

    Chip skiff's #7 has some real meat to it that bears masticating.
    Gerard>
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