Here are the spending areas of the federal budget that I would like to see cut, with some specific suggestions on how: 

Social Security

Social Security was initially created in the 1930’s to be a social safety net to reduce the level of poverty our senior citizens were experiencing.  I believe this goal is very worthwhile as I don’t want to live in a society where getting old is a key cause of poverty…and I want to pay my share of taxes to support this goal.   It’s important to fund Social Security as a social safety net and not a universal retirement program. My proposed changes:My proposed changes:
  • Raise the retirement age to 70, over an appropriate period of time to allow for people to plan.
  • Create a way for people to qualify for retirement at 64, 66 or 68 if they have worked enough years in a job that is physically more demanding.
  • Change the calculation of Cost of Living increases to be based on the inflation in living expenses and not the inflation in wages.
  • Means test to make the payouts “progressive”, meaning reduce them for the wealthy, to the point that some very wealthy would not receive any.
 

Medicare/Medicaid

This is a difficult area to get costs under control.  It was initially created in the 1960’s focused on being part the social safety net.  Like Social Security, I believe this goal is very worthwhile as I don’t want to live in a society where getting sick is a key cause of poverty or being poor means nearly no medical care…and I want to pay my share of taxes to support these goals.My proposed changes:
  • Make the price of medicare coverage “progressive”…that is charge more for the wealthy, eventually to the point that some very wealthy would pay the total cost of their Medicare insurance or purchase their own health insurance in the private market.
  • There needs to be a reallocation of medical spending in our country that reduces the total spending.  This is very, very difficult to achieve as the solutions are complex and thus ripe for political demagoguery (i.e. death panels, etc)…but the alternative is what we have now.
  • There needs to be some sort of cost management/control system in place as the buying of medical services is unlike any other consumer expenditure we make. Our free enterprise system depends on buyers being at least somewhat competent in making cost/benefit decisions as well as comparing products/services from alternative sources.  That just isn’t the case with medical decisions, and I don’t think it is rational to expect it.
 

Defense

We have to stop being the world’s cops.  We should stand for freedom and democracy,  and we should use our “might” to influence the governments and peoples of the world to move in the direction of freedom and democracy.   That is…our economic, diplomatic, moral might.  Our military might should be reserved only for when our direct national interests are being threatened.To use recent military interventions to clarify this point:
  • Afghanistan…initially a good decision with the application of Special Forces teaming with Afghan Rebels.  Once we went beyond the anti-terrorism focus, we went too far.
  • Iraq…terrible decision to invade.
  • Libya…a good example of a moderated military role to support important allies.  If we don’t get further involved militarily, then I agree with our role.
  • Deployment of troops in Europe should be eliminated.
  • US Naval Fleets should be reduced.
 Other Spending areas…no doubt there is additional waste to be eliminated.   However, the long list of items that should be cut won’t add up to enough to make any real difference, unless we also address the Big 3 of Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid and Defense.All of the above spending cut suggestions would need to be analyzed by the CBO as to their impact.  No doubt adjustments to my suggestions would need to be made as a result of the CBO’s projections.

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