Taxes on rich may bring revenue, but it won’t fix deficit

Published: Wednesday, April 20 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

In a blog post by Internet satirist Iowahawk, which was then turned into a video by Bill Whittle, the debt problem is put even more starkly: If the U.S. government were to confiscate the money from the members of the Fortune 500 (such as Exxon Mobil and Walmart), TV ad money spent on all 45 Super Bowls, the salaries of all players in the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NFL, as well as the winnings of those on the PGA tour and Nascar, and every penny from those making more than $250,000 a year, the government would only be funded through July 2. Ending the wars In Iraq and Afghanistan would fund the government through July 29.

Just raising taxes on the rich would not address normal government spending, nor would it help address entitlement spending, which is a looming threat to long-term fiscal health. According to USA Today, entitlement spending in Medicare and Social Security are the major threat to the U.S. economy.

Rep. Paul Ryan, who presented a deficit reduction plan that addresses spending, reforms the tax code and changes Medicare, said on Face the Nation that the keys for growth come not from raising taxes on the rich, but from getting rid of loopholes and deductions and introducing a simpler, flatter, fairer tax. Ryan's plan passed the House on April 15.

For those looking for hope in the debt situation, the left and right sides of the debate have almost found common ground in one suggestion the president floated on Tuesday.

While speaking at Northern Virginia Community College, the president said he would like to return tax rates to the level that existed when Bill Clinton was president. Conservative radio talkshow host Rush Limbaugh agreed, with the caveat that the government also return to Clinton-era spending levels.

No matter what direction you approach the deficit problem from — whether you agree with raising taxes on the rich or prefer to focus on entitlements or austerity cuts — theres probably a fiscal plan for you. With proposed plans from the president, Paul Ryan, the Institute for Policy Studies, the Bipartisan Policy Center and the presidents National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, there are many to choose from.

And if nothing else works, you could always donate to the government to help lower the public debt. But, Newser warns, your donation is not tax-deductible.

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