John Hoffmire: Does the U.S. have an opportunity-oriented federal budget?

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  • Jayson Meline Chubbuck, ID
    Aug. 16, 2016 1:12 p.m.

    What is outlined in the article is the third rail of US politics: entitlement programs.

    It is well documented by the CBO and Peterson Foundation that defined benefit programs, Medicare and Medicaid, along with the interest on the debt make up the lion’s share of the federal budget. They crowd out operational line item expenditure the essential services of the federal government unless there is reform.

    That is not a political statement but rather a statement of reality.

    Neither Trump nor Clinton are addressing during the campaign either the deficit or debt. Neither political party has it as a priority on their platform.

    Solutions require a very dirty word that does not lead to getting elected: collective sacrifice and trade-offs.

    The article highlights that our fiscal and monetary policy does not create an entrepreneurial culture of personal asset building needed to grow an economy to sustain defined benefit programs.

    The two party system is not conducive to having constructive and realistic problem solving to do what is needed for our financial and economic health.

    If you care about the future and really have values, do not support either Trump or Clinton.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 16, 2016 12:43 p.m.

    When a businessman talks about government it’s like he’s only talking about business and business people. I think that business people think of ordinary people as cattle to be used for business.

    The article criticizes ordinary people for taking too much of the governments money causing a “decline in fiscal freedom” that impedes investment and the building of wealth. He rightly points out that Republicans and Democrats alike are in lock step supporting the business propaganda. Which is not surprising, given that they are all from the business community.

    Business is a necessary part of civilization, but when we talk about government of the people, we should include all the people.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 16, 2016 12:32 p.m.

    @Kent DeForrest - very insightful point.

    Over at least the past 20 years, the US has had both fairly low overall taxation, and increasing inequality. While Canada's overall taxation rate has been around 38% of GDP, their inequality scores have been comparatively "healthy", with a middle class that does pretty well.

    The US overall taxation rate has been ~25%, but our economic inequality score is much closer to Mexico's than Canada's.

    Unfortunately, from globalization and technology, more jobs of "modest" wages are being created, and in turn more of our population is generating less tax revenue, exacerbating the challenge Hoffmire describes.

    New ways of measuring value are needed, or increasing inequalities and technological disruption may lead to much more serious social problems, potentially social instability.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Aug. 16, 2016 10:29 a.m.

    I usually like Hoffmire's columns, but this one is very short on specifics and long on vague generalizations. How do we get our budget under control when the GOP insists on keeping the U.S. in the bottom four in terms how much our citizens are taxed. Federal and state taxes in the U.S. average about 24 percent of GDP. Only Mexico, Chile, and South Korea, among OECD nations, tax less than we do. The average among OECD nations is about 36 percent. How can we possibly pay for all the things we really do need if we continue to fall for conservative propaganda about U.S. citizens being overtaxed. It's nonsense. Especially our tax rates on those who have made off like bandits during the past 30 years.

    All this stuff Hoffmire mentions is simply pie-in-the-sky until we start taxing enough to actually have a little freedom to do something creative with our budget.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 16, 2016 9:42 a.m.

    Great and thought-provoking column by Hoffmire.

    Beyond assessing government programs and how they provide opportunity, our society should increasingly assess any economic activity as it applies to human impact.

    For example, if a genius financed and built a completely automated factory to build a product sold exclusively outside the United States and boasted that he generates a billion dollars of revenue, while only employing 3 people... how much would this enterprise benefit everyone else?

    We have only started to see the potential for how high end technology can do amazing things, increasingly with minimal human involvement.

    Just as everyone is concerned if a factory belches smoke into our shared air, we should also be cognizant of how government and businesses impact human beings, and assess them accordingly.