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Old 03-03-2017, 10:53 AM
Giant Nontypical
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 6,170

Originally Posted by Fieldmouse View Post
They are the number one driver of our debt, are you now saying deficits no linger matter? We can continue to put the children of America deeper into a hole that can't be climbed out? 7 years, Medicare goes belly up. SS goes belly up around 2030 ( don't believe the 2034 projection because the needle didn't move when they raided 250 billion out of it to pay disability). 2040,100% of the federal budget will be consumed by SS,Medicare, and Medicaid. Keep in mind, this isn't including any other entitlements like Obamacare (which looks like its here to stay) and now the paid family leave act that will happen in the next few years since politicians can't seem to stop spending other people money. Then what? Do we need a military? FBI? Federal prison?

Fieldmouse: you obviously haven't read much history or the answer would be obvious. Like the Romans, we will conquer our nearest neighbors and plunder their wealth. What's not to like about that solution?

But seriously, you raise a good point. I assume you know your numbers. I don't have an answer. Speaking personally, part of my plan is to try to keep healthy and to keep working as long as I can. I enjoy my job -- at least to some extent. The idea of keeping working is not an abhorrent idea.

Something I have thought in the past as a good principle of government would be to segment and allocate the federal revenues by category. In this plan no deficit spending is allowed, and each category gets its allocation and no more than that. They can spend that money within their category largely as they see fit. So, suppose you divide things up into national defense, promoting the general welfare, federal government, and infrastructure. Suppose you allocate 30% to defense, 10% to federal government, 30% to general welfare, and 30% to infrastructure (you can adapt this idea arbitrarily by designating your own preferred categories and your own preferred percentage allocations -- that is a subject that can be debated and compromised upon). The people who are interested in defense can haggle over how to spend their money, but they can't spend more than they are allocated and they can't take any from the other categories. Likewise with spending in the other categories. Should we spend more on FBI, less on CIA, more on Navy, less on Air Force. Those are debates that make sense. It is hard, politically, however, to rationally balance between spending for CIA versus spending for national healthcare. It seems this kind of structural approach would solve some problems. I understand that our politicians will never do something so sensible as this, as it would break up their influence peddling party.

So one version of my scheme would have some category that corresponds to the entitlement programs. It would be allocated some fixed percentage of the federal revenues -- say 20%, say 30%. Whatever (I'm not linking this to my earlier example: obviously summing all categories together must add up to 100%). Then in this scheme, you would not have the problem of entitlements running out of control. It would be restricted. Then it would become a subject of political discourse how to allocate that money -- which is fixed and limited in extent. Should more money be allocated to retirement benefits for aged and less to "universal healthcare?" Should less money be allocated to retirement benefits and more allocated to healthcare? These are political questions -- but these specific questions are realistic. You can't have everything you would like to have. There are constraints. There is more good that could be done than there is budget to pay for . . . so you have to make hard choices.

As an example of this. Years ago I found that my decision making process in buying Christmas gifts for my wife were different when I was paying with a credit card versus paying with cash. For example, in evaluating which lens to select to go with a nice Nikon camera (FM-2) should I get the lens with a bigger opening (smaller minimum f-stop) which costs about $100 more versus the lens with one level smaller opening (greater minimum f-stop). The more expensive lens supports shooting pictures in less light and maybe other effects . . . but this was a feature that would rarely be used. Is it worth the extra $100? I found that I answered that question one way if I was paying with a credit card and a different way if I had to pay cash and balance that payment against other immediate demands for my cash. We need to start doing our government spending as if we are paying with cash rather than with a credit card. Our decisions would be more financially responsible.

And Fieldmouse also makes a good point that it is irresponsible to spend without limit and pass the resultant debt on to our children and grandchildren. How is it our right to obligate our children debts that we made?

Last edited by Alsatian; 03-03-2017 at 11:06 AM.
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