No doorways, no windows, no walls
No shelter here on the ground
No standing and no safe place to fall
Just the promise of this distant sound
Bells are ringing all over the world

Friday, June 24, 2011

Linkee-poo doubles up before the weekend

Jane Friedman with five things more important than talent.

Hmm, strange, if we let the Bush Tax cuts expire, and actually allow the Medicare cost adjustments to go into effect, no deficit within 5 years. Yeah. Like that will ever happen.

And another chart of the day showing support of Republican Governors dropping. Just something to keep in mind when you hear the mantra of Obama's popularity dropping.

Tweet of my heart @matociquala: Elise Matthesen on how to critique effectively: "Be on the side of the story." #4thstreet


Anonymous said...

I read this on today.

Increase taxes on the middle class, ask doctors to take massive cuts in Medicare reimbursements, clap really hard and wish with all your might and the budget will balance.

How about we cut some spending? Just a wild thought there...

Anonymous Cassie

Steve Buchheit said...

Cassie, actually, it's not the middle class who will see their taxes increase the most if we let the Bush Tax Cuts expire. And frankly, because I have no children I didn't see any benefit from those tax cuts.

Pretty much every study I've seen have show that allowing those tax cuts expire solves around half of the problem (45-65% depending on the study). However, without cutting defense, or Medicare/Medicaid, you can't cut enough to solve more than 25% of the problem.

Cutting Medicare/Medicaid creates it's own budgetary problems (which aren't being compensated for in the long term projections, because of the problem conservatives pointed out last summer that it would be a new problem that the OBM and CBO can't factor in). Such as increased use of ERs dealing with diseases that are more complicated, require greater efforts, and have poorer outcomes.

And we have cut a lot of spending. Notice how is hasn't affected much.

Anonymous said...

What percentage of the deficit have we cut?


Steve Buchheit said...

We've cut the budget, which then lowers the future deficit. The deficit is a moving target, not a fixed number. You might remember the kurfluffle in April in that regard.

And before the Bush Tax cuts, we were retiring debt (which is the real problem).

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes, that budget cut that was LESS THAN 1% of the deficit.


Steve Buchheit said...

Well, that is the problem with trying to "cut" our way out. Discretionary spending doesn't amount up to much (see earlier links about just how large the budget items are that are most often cited to cut). You could cut all the major bugaboos (NPR, Planned Parenthood, NIHN, Foreign Aid, etc) and still only reduce the deficit by minuscule numbers.

That's how large the parts that the conservatives don't want to cut are. Of course, we could cut Medicare/Medicaid (as they did cut medicaid, but as you can see, it doesn't amount to much). But then you'd also have to stop collecting for Medicare (a separate tax). Social Security isn't adding to the deficit, so cutting it (and removing the tax) doesn't help (it actually hurts because SS buys US Bonds with extra revenue).

You could cut spending for the wars, but that doesn't actually save you that much either (unless you're willing to dismantle whole parts of the DoD).

So now you're really down to the problem areas. Do we stop infrastructure projects (which, if you remember, are in a sad state of repair), do we eliminate parts of DHS (which then opens vulnerabilities), do we eliminate Border Patrol (good luck selling that), do we eliminate the IRS (say goodbye to actual revenues)... Basically we're down to the nibblies now.

It's always nice to say "cut more," but then you have to look a lot of people in the eye and tell them they're screwed. The problem is, society is the part that ends up being screwed, and our collective responsibility goes up (if you think Planned Parenthood is too expensive, wait until you have to provide similar care through ERs when the diseases have progressed beyond the preventable stage; don't forget, your tax dollars go to support "indigent" care, not to mention your health care premiums go up to support higher billing so hospitals/doctors can cover costs).