12 May 2011

Here are the spending cut ideas for different sections of the federal budget that I think would be the best way to avoid a fiscal disaster down the road, 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 calcu...

09 May 2011

I believe that most people, regardless of their political beliefs, would agree that the level of our federal government’s spending and taxes has been “highly influenced” by what our politicians have considered important to their re-election.   Add to this the reality that most citizens want their fair share of any “free lunches”, then you have Politicians + Citizens = we now have the perfect storm for excess spending and under-taxation.About half the citizens are duped into thinking they can get their free lunch in the form of low taxes and the other half are duped into thinking that they can get theirs via specific spending that benefits them.  Many citizens think they can get both - and they do.  Of course most of us citizens don’t think that we have been duped. No, we all “deserve” and have “earned” what we want… yeah right!!!All this patriotism on the part of our politicians and citizens just gives me goose bumps.  All kidding as...

10 Apr 2011

Just for complete disclosure…this article was stimulated by one published by Solomon Kleinsmith a few days ago. I am a believer that we should pay our way for what you use or do in a society. Personal responsibility and accountability is critical to the success or our society. For me this is not in conflict with believing that a society should also help take care of those less fortunate…so I also believe in some socialism for the greater good. I say this to give context to the following…Smokers, Drinkers, Drug Abusers, Obese people all choose to live lives that “externalize” upon society much of their costs to live the lives they choose. That truly is just a fact. I understand that genetics and upbringing play a significant role in a person’s ability to make good choices… but personal responsibility is much too important to just completely excuse away. We can make some accommodations for this with programs supporting those who are struggling to...

23 Jan 2011

I just finished reading independent centrist pundit John Avlon`s book - WINGNUTS: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America - a couple of days ago (a gift from my son) and have been reflecting on it quite a bit as my wife and I are on vacation.  Then I wake up a couple mornings ago and find out Keith Olbermann has been fired.  Awesome!It got me thinking...Is MSNBC going back to being a news organization?  If I read WINGNUTS again will Fox fire Glenn Beck?  Rupert Murdock did ask his talking heads at Fox to "tone it down" a bit so maybe Fox will become a news organization?  NO, NO & NO...are the probable answers to those questions but there is always hope.Then I realize I am having too much rum at the beach as I write this celebrating K.O. getting KO`d.Avalon`s WINGNUTS had already got me thinking... Where is the courageous, honorable leadership we need in our country?  Political leaders put party before patriotism, and Medi...

05 Jan 2011

We Americans have always been known for our imagination and creative solutions.   Can’t we use these traits to solve our illegal immigration issues and triumph over any legal-based desire for punishment.    Here are my suggestions:  Citizenship with firm pre- and post- conditions.Pre-Conditions:First and foremost, we must secure our border with Mexico.  Without border security, there is no solution.   Let’s identify the geographical differences along the border in order to determine the best security method for each of the various regions.  Over the past few years several methods have been successfully installed on various stretches of the border…we know what will work.Citizenship:Set a deadline for when all current illegal immigrants must have applied for citizenship, and then clearly and comprehensively publicize it over a three month period prior to the deadline. All illegal immigrants who apply on or before the deadline wo...

06 Dec 2010

The tax cuts of 2001/2003 (aka Bush Tax Cuts) were passed to help our economy recover from the recession at that time.  Remember, we were running a surplus going into that recession.  The tax cuts were set into law with "sunset provisions" so that they would be temporary in anticipation of the recession ending...ahhh, some last "vestiges" of fiscal wisdom from our political leadership.However, even though we were out of that recession by 2004, the tax cuts were extended and extended, and here we are 10 years later on the verge of extending them all again.  Income taxes for 2009 as a percent of income were 9.2%, the lowest in 55 years versus the average of 12%.  Spending just keeps growing, and the deficit is back to being immorally high.The "compromise" on the 2001/2003 tax cuts that is forming between the Administration and Republican leadership looks to be another example of our two political parties getting together and agreeing to the "g...

30 Nov 2010

Welcome our latest addition to our bullpen of contributors. His name isn't a typo - Mark Kleinsmith happens to be your humble editor's father. He's a retired accountant, a moderate and has a history of writing letters to the editor. He should be a perfect fit here. -SK How much fiscal trouble does our country need to get into before our politicians become leaders who put our country first and their job security or their party a distant second and third?I am intensely worried that the answer to this question is…GREECE. It may take a few more years, but unfortunately we look all too capable of following in their footsteps.Nearly all of the reported comments being made by our Senators and Representatives about our fiscal troubles seem too simplistic and definitely one-sided. Can there possibly be any way that these people are that ignorant about our fiscal reality? If not, then can it be anything other than questionable values that put job sec...