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Comments about ‘The fiscal cliff: Both parties need to make a decision to avoid recession’

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Published: Thursday, Sept. 6 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

From the article

"The only practical alternative is for the parties to sit down like adults and hammer out a pragmatic plan that spreads the pain evenly and offers future deficit reduction and economic growth."

- Large entitlement cuts
- modest tax increase
- Military spending cut.

That is what constitutes a "practical alternative".

Beg your congressmen do that. DO NOT demand that your side give nothing and expect to get everything they want.

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

To Joe Blow..It's obvious entitlements must be on the table in any deficit reduction conversation..however I would propose that changes in entitlements, especially Medicare, and Social Security, be characterized as reforms to the programs rather than large cuts. The reason I say that is first of all there's a lot that can be done with both programs structurally that help to make them viable that aren't necessarily cuts in benefits. Secondly there are demographics in play here that won't change and make both programs necessary. It's fine to say people should work longer than 65 but the fact is many many people don't have that opportunity. Health reasons and a propensity for younger workers keep many older workers out of the work force. Also few have the ability to save enough today to pay for both retirement needs, and medical needs. A drastic cut in either program would put most retirees dire straights.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "The only practical alternative . . . .

- Large entitlement cuts
- modest tax increase
- Military spending cut."

Hmmmm.

No reduction in the deranged size, deranged scope, and deranged expense of [non-defense] Big Government, huh?

It's interesting that liberal desperation appears to have sparked a willingness to implement what they recently described as "throwing the poor and elderly under the bus," but that they continue their adamant opposition to any decrease in the size or cost of government.

Makes one wonder which government employees' union the writer represents.

Rifleman
Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
"- modest tax increase"

Why only a modest tax increase? An out of control federal government with no financial self control will always be able to spend more than they take in. A 100% tax on worker's incomes wouldn't be enough to satisfy Obama's financial plans for this country.

Giving more money to a glutinous government is like giving more booze to an alcoholic in the hope that it will cure his drinking problem.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

Large entitlement cuts = restructure, not just financial cuts. I agree that trimming, tweaking among other thing is the answer.

Tax cuts should only be allowed once the associated spending cuts are made. It is extremely easy to push a tax cut. Much more difficult to trim what those taxes pay for.

INstead, our politicians opt for the easy tax cuts and do not make associated spending cuts. That goes for both R and D. And they give the bill to future generations.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "I agree that trimming, tweaking[,] among other thing[s,] is the answer."

I don't agree. Trimming and tweaking accomplish little. Cutting and slashing is what's needed.

As any former Washington bureaucrat, like myself, can attest -- EVERY non-defense federal agency could manage just fine with a 50%, across-the-board cut in personnel and infrastructure. And, it could be rather painlessly accomplished, by attrition and retirement incentives, over a period of 5-10 years. More than 40% of the current federal workforce beomes eligible for regular or early retirement during that period.

Additionally, there are several federal agencies that are entirely redundant to existing state and/or private entities, and have a history of performing as well or better than the feds -- the EPA, the Department of Education, Interior's Bureau of Land Management, and the General Services Administration spring to mind. There are others.

Even DoD should be examined for areas in which expenditures could be cut, but not at the expense of readiness.

All that, at least, would be a good start.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Procuradorfiscal,

First, I know of no agency that could take a 50% cut and still be functional. Attrition can and will shrink the workforce, but it will be slow.

Second, DOD uses the readiness card all the time. But it is the largest non-entitlement spending we have. We spend vastly more than any other country on defense (by any measure you wish to use - per capita, as a percentage of GDP, etc.). If we are going to shrink spending, DOD will have to take a hit as well.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "First, I know of no agency that could take a 50% cut and still be functional."

There are plenty. I've been there and seen them.

And, there are plenty more that are merely duplicative of state and local agencies, or which provide services readily available in the private sector, which must be entirely eliminated, not merely slashed by 50%.

Too many liberals just hoe to a deranged, trade-union dictated party line. They don't even know what a bloated, inefficient, unsustainable, and ineffective bureaucracy they're defending, when refusing to cut unnecessary federal programs, infrastructure, and spending.

Even in DoD, there are many, many cuts -- primarily to the civilian workforce and to shoddy and unnecessary defense systems foisted on the military by politicians "bringing home the bacon" -- that can and should be made without hurting readiness. But because there is so much at stake, we should move carefully in that area, being guided by soldiers, rather than by politicians and by gritty, greedy governmental trade unions.

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