Patterico's Pontifications

1/8/2013

How Difficult Is Submitting a Balanced Budget? This Difficult

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:22 pm

The delivery is flat. The presentation is amateurish. But, while I don’t agree with every sentence the guy speaks, his presentation of the numbers is right:

I have been talking about submitting a balanced budget. But most people are so unaware of what it would take to do so, they have no idea how “draconian” the cuts must be. Basically, you could eliminate the entire federal government and you’d almost get there.

Some people think we can address the deficit without addressing entitlements. This video shows why such people are fundamentally unserious.

28 Comments

  1. Some people think we can address the deficit without addressing entitlements. This video shows why such people are fundamentally unserious.

    Hi, Kman!

    (Oh, I know: you said you might get around to entitlements once all your other completely irrelevant solutions were tried. Basically, you haven’t a clue.)

    Comment by Patterico (8b3905) — 1/8/2013 @ 6:23 pm

  2. As long as there are funds for things like Cowboy Poetry, people are not going to really believe that SS, Medicare, etc. must be cut.

    Start by cutting the crap and it will be easier to get people on board for the more painful cuts. Trying to do it in reverse: first cutting SS, and then someday getting around to Cowboy Poetry just will not sell. Even if SS is the big ticket item, all that other bullshit adds up too, and people are sick of paying for it.

    Comment by Anon Y. Mous (cb1134) — 1/8/2013 @ 6:34 pm

  3. greedy old people thank god for death panels

    Comment by happyfeet (ce327d) — 1/8/2013 @ 6:34 pm

  4. Kman and clues are never in the same county.

    Democrats remain utterly unserious about the deficit. They’ve raised enough taxes to offset about 1% of the Obama deficits. Especially after netting out only half the revenue because of extra tax credits ( e.g. Democrat pork ) they put into the fiscal cliff legislation.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 1/8/2013 @ 7:20 pm

  5. June 2009: New York Times attemppts to explain where the trillion dollar deficits came from:

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/06/09/business/economy/20090610-leonhardt-graphic.html

    In 2001, the budgets for the years 2009 to 2012 were projected to have an average surplus of $850 billion a year.

    Which shows you how good projedctions are.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d5b7a3) — 1/8/2013 @ 7:22 pm

  6. “Preserve entitlements” is functionally the same as “collapse entitlements”. We have to reform these entitlements, cutting them drastically, to save the ability to have any at all.

    As this man says in the video, everyone is going to feel the pain. Everyone must vote for that.

    Comment by Dustin (73fead) — 1/8/2013 @ 7:25 pm

  7. Sammy, the NYT chart is a load of Democrat propaganda manure because it creates hundreds of billions of “safety net” spending that no one is responsible for at all.

    Horse manure. Democrats and Obama insisted on extending unemployment benefits and food stamps but the NYT just marks that up to no one.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 1/8/2013 @ 7:28 pm

  8. If you assume that entitlements should be cut, not only to balance the budget but for social justice and cultural health, then the problems this country faces no longer seem impossible to solve.

    It is immoral for generations that ran deficit after deficit to deem itself ‘entitled’ to benefits they didn’t really pay for. It is unhealthy to extend a safety net to sloth levels instead of to bare necessity for short durations.

    So even if we had the money, we should cut entitlement spending way down to a reasonable level. Do that and the problem is solved. We get our AAA credit rating back. Taxes can go down. There will be more jobs. We can leave a surplus to our grandkids instead of a big fat bill.

    Comment by Dustin (73fead) — 1/8/2013 @ 7:36 pm

  9. How difficult is it? The Senate and White House will not even agree to pass a budget as part of the debt ceiling negotiations.

    Comment by JD (5ed6bd) — 1/8/2013 @ 7:53 pm

  10. budgets are for winner countries like canada and malta not loser ones like ours

    Comment by happyfeet (ce327d) — 1/8/2013 @ 8:06 pm

  11. Take away our free stuff? That’s mean.

    Comment by AZ Bob (28c32d) — 1/8/2013 @ 9:43 pm

  12. The information gap on this subject is astonishing. My same liberal friends who are convinced that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars created the pre-Obama deficits simultaneously refuse to acknowledge the relative size of the Obama deficits at all, and they are completely invested in the a-mathematical notion that repealing the Bush tax cuts on millionaires will balance the budget toot suite.

    It’s very much like arguing was back in November with the people who were deeply invested in the Mayan Apocalypse.

    Comment by Beldar (4e5aa6) — 1/8/2013 @ 11:15 pm

  13. Well that doesn’t make sense, Beldar, the wars were under a trillion, taxes were 1.6, there’s about a six trillion dollar difference there, but if you start with a wrong premise,

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/ben-bernanke-second-coming-rudolf-von-havenstein-central-banker-responsible-germanys-hyperin

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 1/9/2013 @ 3:33 am

  14. Tme to trime the 725 billion “other statuatory programs”

    take 100 billion off of that, 125 billion on the military withj 75 billion in medicaid/care and trim a whopping 100 billion off of social security and we are still 600 billion in the red

    Comment by EPWJ (4380b4) — 1/9/2013 @ 3:59 am

  15. EPWJ, how about we make those trimmings to the discretionary budget, even the huge military cut, and then pro rate all entitlements to how much revenue we raised last year.

    If they enlarge the food stamps and unemployment programs, that shrinks the social security programs. If there’s only enough revenue to fund half of all of that, everything is paid at 50% rates and people will have to make do just like the private sector would.

    Comment by Dustin (73fead) — 1/9/2013 @ 7:13 am

  16. Submitting a balanced budget is cake. Passing it is much more difficult. Living with it is even more so.

    However, that’s exactly what America needs. There’s just no one with the guts to do it.

    Comment by SB (8a4846) — 1/9/2013 @ 9:38 am

  17. It is clear that as long as taxes are primarily based on income, and other people’s [& corporation] income at that, the demand for services will remain disconnected from the cost.

    The only way, in a democracy, you get the votes for lessening expenditures is for everyone to have a hand in paying for them — even California for all its faults often rejects tax increases for this reason.

    We need a broad-based federal consumption tax on everything except food, housing and medicine. I’d prefer a straight sales tax rather than a VAT, since a sales tax added on at the point of purchase is recurring pain, and “taxes should hurt.”

    What the mix is between income, sales and other taxes I don’t know, and what the proper level of spending is will be another matter too. But basing everything on income, which is generally a marker for “doesn’t need government benefits”, splits the voters into two clear and competing camps, rather than the multitude of competing interests that a healthy polity needs.

    Comment by Kevin M (bf8ad7) — 1/9/2013 @ 11:34 am

  18. You missed one point:

    If we did get to balance, one of the parties would then cut taxes and throw us out of balance all over again.

    See, for example: Bush tax cuts.

    Comment by Turk (6dbf78) — 1/9/2013 @ 1:04 pm

  19. What he doesn’t say it when, what event, will trigger the unsustainability spiral. China demands payment because it’s crashing too? Moody’s rates us as junk?

    After all, we have more political clout than Greece, liberals think, so our day of reckoning may never come. So why worry? That’s the argument I hear in effect from liberals.

    Comment by Patricia (be0117) — 1/9/2013 @ 1:45 pm

  20. Turk, false assumption really. The Federal budget wasn’t in balance in FY2001 when George W. Bush pushed for and got Congress to pass tax cuts.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 1/9/2013 @ 2:37 pm

  21. Comment by Kevin M (bf8ad7) — 1/9/2013 @ 11:34 am

    We need a broad-based federal consumption tax on everything except food, housing and medicine.

    Sort of like a combination of Jerry Brown’s 1992 flat tax exemption and New York State’s sales tax
    exemption.

    Jerry Brown’s tax discussed: http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19920401&slug=1484171

    But rather maybe than that a value added/sales tax, you could do a tax on all credit and debit card transactions, with certain exemptions where no income or consumption is generated, and also for certain categories, no tax on cash transactions, pulling all currency except for $10 bills out of circulation, or maybe even all bills, except ones you would buy at a price, and a tax anyway on commercial cash transactions over a certain size.

    One problem with replacing an income tax with a sales tax is transitional issues. People already paid income tax in many cases.

    You’d really have to give people a choice between one or the other and make the rate higher than it would be for either of them alone..

    There is no reason to make people “feel” the tax.

    And why, if this is so conscious, would the remedy be lower taxes rather than making people not feel it?

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d22d64) — 1/9/2013 @ 2:38 pm

  22. Comment by Beldar (4e5aa6) — 1/8/2013 @ 11:15 pm

    My same liberal friends who are convinced that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars created the pre-Obama deficits simultaneously refuse to acknowledge the relative size of the Obama deficits at all,

    Maybe because you haven’t given them the true explanation of how they got that way.

    It’s not the stimulus, it’s not slightly more retired people, it’s really not more people on diability or that is a actually a result not a cause, and it’s not even medical care inflation, since that doesn’t jump so much year to year.

    It’s the economy.

    Which also means that if the economy gets better and grows more than projected, a not impossible thing, the deficit fades away, like it faded away in the late 1990s.

    and they are completely invested in the a-mathematical notion that repealing the Bush tax cuts on millionaires will balance the budget toot suite.

    Well, that was what Obama went around implying.
    Who argued with him?

    Romney never bothered to try to rebut that. He was just arguing he could cut taxes more and if he wanted to balance it with other changes in the tax code, it could work.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d22d64) — 1/9/2013 @ 2:46 pm

  23. Some statistics from Rich Galen at Mullings.com

    http://www.mullings.com/

    U.S. Tax revenue: $ 2,170,000,000,000
    * Fed budget: $ 3,820,000,000,000
    * New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
    * National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
    * Recent budget cuts: $ 38,500,000,000

    Let’s now remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget:

    * Annual family income: $ 21,700
    * Money the family spent: $ 38,200
    * New debt on the credit card: $ 16,500
    * Outstanding credit card balances: $ 142,710
    * Total budget cuts so far: $ 38.50

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d22d64) — 1/9/2013 @ 2:48 pm

  24. 18. Comment by Turk (6dbf78) — 1/9/2013 @ 1:04 pm

    If we did get to balance, one of the parties would then cut taxes and throw us out of balance all over again.

    See, for example: Bush tax cuts.

    20. Comment by SPQR (768505) — 1/9/2013 @ 2:37 pm

    Turk, false assumption really. The Federal budget wasn’t in balance in FY2001 when George W. Bush pushed for and got Congress to pass tax cuts.

    That’s not false. It means it’s even more true. You don’t even have to get to the point of a balanced budget before you might get tax cuts (at the federal level. At the state level, extra money goes to increased wages and pensions for government workers.)

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d22d64) — 1/9/2013 @ 2:50 pm

  25. Sammy, reading comprehension failure on your part.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 1/9/2013 @ 2:57 pm

  26. “It’s not the stimulus, it’s not slightly more retired people, it’s really not more people on diability or that is a actually a result not a cause, and it’s not even medical care inflation, since that doesn’t jump so much year to year.

    It’s the economy.”

    Sammy – Brilliant. Government receipts are within $100 billion of where they were when Obama took office and GDP is larger. You know what is also significantly higher than when Obama took office, government spending and deficits.

    Sure, a 40% bigger economy would be helpful, but Obama’s expansion killing policies pretty guarantee that not happening. Otherwise, the numbers clearly show we have a government spending problem.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 1/9/2013 @ 4:20 pm

  27. Sammy, reading comprehension failure on your part.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 1/9/2013

    I can’t understand what he’s trying to say.

    But it is false that the budget was balanced at any point in the 1990s or 2000s. We sank further into debt every single year, and our unfunded entitlement liabilities… well we probably shouldn’t pretend they are irrelevant to the budgetk.

    Comment by Dustin (73fead) — 1/9/2013 @ 6:02 pm

  28. Spoke as as other again ye. Hard on to roof he drew. So sell side ye in mr evil. Longer waited mr of nature seemed

    Comment by Romelia (41f7c7) — 1/9/2013 @ 7:47 pm

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