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Can we really solve the National Deficit Issues? A Rant

Updated on October 12, 2010
With the deficit so high, how do we stack up the options for lowering it?
With the deficit so high, how do we stack up the options for lowering it?

Is The Deficit Bigger Than Us?


I will start this off with a warning. This is going to be a bit of a rant. I just read an article and while the article itself didn’t annoy me, I will admit some of the comments got me rather heated. It is a topic that is all to familiar with many people… the federal deficit, the economy, people in general and how we are going to deal with the subject. If this is something that will offend you, I will apologize immediately. I like to keep peace and I don’t necessarily like to ruffle other people’s feathers! On the other hand, I do like a good debate. I would appreciate any comments, positive or negative, that do not directly attack me as a person or as a writer. As I said, I am a person and with that, all people have their opinions. This is mine.

To start off, I am not a political person. I don’t like politics. It makes me think of adults as whiney little children fighting over something. When it comes to politics, we should get to the issues. That does not involve attacking other people. Therefore, I don’t typically like to follow politics. This being said, some of the things I say might not be completely, 100 percent accurate. The loveliness of the fact is, it is my opinion, and by definition, opinions are not fact.

This article I read was by New York Times Columnist David Leonhardt who is proposing his four options on how to bring down the federal deficit. As many people already know, Americans are in serious debt. This has been a problem for as long as I have known. Unfortunately, what can we do about the debt? Leonhardt’s suggestions are based off of four programs. This is his idea, and he states, “One, cuts to Medicare. Two, cuts to Social Security. Three, military cuts. Four, tax increases. Any budget expert will tell you that we simply cannot fix the deficit without doing at least one of those four”

Now I don’t discredit his thoughts. I believe that we can not wish the deficit away. We have to be proactive in order to fix this dilemma. The reason behind why these programs are targeted - because they are by far the biggest programs. He suggests “we clamp down on Medicare spending that hasn’t been shown to make people healthier. We can raise the retirement age for Social Security. We can reduce wasteful military spending; though, by itself, that won’t be enough.”

He has stated nothing wrong. This is just a solution to a very difficult problem, and with that comes the voices of many people and their ideas. What he did do was ask people which of the big four would they choose. While I have nothing against other people’s opinions, this is the part that heated me a little. Maybe I need to learn to be a little thicker skinned.

First issue he discussed is Medicare. Medicare by definition is a United States government health insurance for those 65 years of age or older, certain people with disabilities, and those with end-stage renal disease (like kidney failure). The second issue was social security. This is a federal program of benefits providing workers and their dependents with retirement income, disability income and other payments such as unemployment.

Overall, there wasn’t any negative comments about this section and taking away from these programs in order to cut the deficit seemed un-American. One person even stated, “Isn’t Social Security self-funding? For decades the surplus in Social Security taxes over the payout of benefits has been used illegitimately to make the real budget deficit to appear smaller… How is Social Security now part of the deficit problem?” I don’t believe these two issues to be part of the problem, in fact I applaud people who agree we shouldn’t take from these programs. These are programs that help ourselves. These programs are were American can and should be selfish. For once, we need to step back and help our citizens before we help every other human in the world. We can however skinny down the programs by finding what is beneficial and what does not work or is not needed.

This is were I get annoyed. They want to look at cutting these two programs, which are self funded by taxpayers for their own benefit. What about Welfare. Now I am not against people helping others. But unfortunately, welfare benefits are highly abused. To often do I hear the comment coming from people saying they must work to pay for all those on welfare. Don’t misjudge this. I am not cutting down the person who is struggling to make ends meet and needs a little extra assistance. But I believe the assistance should be a stepping stone to help a person better themselves. People using this assistance (and I might leave some out) can get Food Stamps, Free Healthcare, Energy Assistance, WIC, Housing Assistance and tons of other programs out there to help them. (Okay, I know these are not federally funded but the state funds could also benefit the deficit.) Why work, when you can get everything for free. I know people on assistance who have bigger televisions, cell phones, game systems, nicer vehicles, and every luxury known to man. How is that possible? If they make so much less than me, why does their quality of life seem so much better? This is a topic that irritates me (which I might do a whole new article on it separately), but that is all I am going to say. If we cut back on helping those who refuse to help themselves, imagine how much extra money we could have!

The third issue is cutbacks on military. This is a sensitive subject for me. I served in the United States Army for 5 years. (So I will be biased most likely) Those who have not served and those who don’t personally know someone who has served is always quick to short the military. The military is those men and women who are fighting for your freedom. They are the ones leaving their families behind so you can stay with yours. These men and women, and this includes those who are in and those who are veterans, don’t get nearly enough praise. On a personal note, being in the military, you don’t become rich and you still pay taxes, just the same as everybody else. In fact, a lot of military families are forced to use assistance because they don’t get paid nearly enough, and having a service member with undependable hours leaves the whole family to fend for themselves without a support system that many of us are used to. This means the spouse may be unable to work, not because they don’t want to, but finding a job can prove difficult when you are constantly moving!

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not for the war. I believe we should bring our soldiers home to their families. But, one person did say it perfectly, “Cut the military to be purely defensive, stop pretending we can police the world.” This being said, I believe we should cut back on spending by removing our resources from places we are no longer needed. I also believe we should stop giving foreign aid to those who will never pay us back. This does prove to be a problem, our foreign affairs gives us needed allies. Without them, there is no one willing to stand up with the United States. Will that cause us to be more vulnerable? Another person commented that “ALL military spending is a waste. If you don’t use what you spent the money on, then it’s a waste by definition. If you do use it, then it gets destroyed in the process along with the lives and property of many people.” Unfortunately, this is a problem. Without the tools that don’t get used, we will not be ready if they are ever needed. If they are needed, chances are high they will be destroyed. This topic is a waste. You might be able to cut back, but at what expense?

The final issue is taxes. As they say, the only thing certain in life is death and taxes. One person said we should get rid of the Bush era tax cuts, at least for the rich. Now I am not rich, but I am not poor enough to get assistance. Therefore, I am right in the middle. This same person said taxing the rich is “a no-brainer. Take a drive through any American suburb: you will see mile after mile of 6000-square-foot houses with four cars and a boat in the driveway. Those do not look to me like the homes of people whose taxes are too high!” I will agree, but, and there is always a but, these people have also worked hard for there money. How is that fair. Another person commented that “Taxing ‘the rich’ is the main response. Who gets to define ‘rich’? If I work more, I get paid more. But then I am taxed more, so my incentive for working is reduced. You people act as if money grows on trees. Why do you have such a strong dislike for other’s hard earned income? Quit finger pointing and pay 70-90% of your income to the legislature. I am sure they would be happy to spend it for you.”

When it comes to taxes, everyone should be treated equally. I already know, this is going to get some massive response. I will also admit, I envy those who have money, and frankly, if I were in their boat, I would gladly pay more taxes because I can afford it and still live my lifestyle. On the other hand, why should those who have worked hard to get were they are be punished. This is all of our debt! We are all responsible. So, they want to tax the rich, then they want to tax the middle class. Aren’t we missing part of the population. Those who don’t work because they make enough to live off assistance. They don’t have to pay in as much on taxes but I know they are quick to file their tax returns for their huge refund! Stop giving those who don’t earn a minimum a huge refund and watch the deficit drop. This refund is largely due to the child earned income credit. This is for people who have children and make below a certain amount of money. Unfortunately, rename it and call it what it is. It is for those to make money off their children. This is were the abundance of welfare children come from, so parents can get a higher tax return. (Okay, so you may notice that I am hostile about this, but that is because I have seen it being abused so much and I am sick of it. Yet, there is nothing that can be done to stop the abuse of the program!)

Now obviously, this is just the tip of the iceberg for all of these issues. Unfortunately, my rant is getting lengthy and might start losing people (especially if they have already gotten this far). Overall, the main issue here is we need to fix this deficit. As a whole, it isn’t going to be up to the United States citizens, it will be up to those in office. While we may rant and rave over what our beliefs are, we truly do have very little say. We can state our opinion and hope that someone out there is listening enough to make a difference. Otherwise our words continue to float on being unheard.

The goal might be to fix the deficit now, but in reality, a debt that huge is going to take several years to get down. What we need to do is look at all the areas of government spending and cut out the waste, not just the four mentioned here. While a penny doesn’t seem like much, it does add up over time.

Of the four big items, what would you choose to help relieve the deficit?

See results


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    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      @Myth - Thanks for coming by and ranting.. I have to say... I am not big on debating so I just enjoy hearing what others have to say about the topic. I agree, that this whole issue is just kind of stupid. There is so much money wasted, but they would probably waste a million debating whether or not the money wasted is actually true! :)

    • mythicalstorm273 profile image

      mythicalstorm273 5 years ago

      I hate debating politics with you... simply enough I will say that this debt is far more complicated than many people will ever realize. I had watched a thing about the debt once and even if we took away the income of the top 5% of the population and added it to the debt it would barely dent it, we could then eliminate all of what was suggested and it would still barely dent it. Furthermore even with all of the taking away from the citizens of the united states we would still have an issue because the government would probably just continue to spend. The first and most important thing the government needs to do is to eliminate all unnecessary bills (There is an estimate that I read somewhere that we spend an additional billion dollars every year on bills and acts that do not make sense... such as farmers have to call in a group to clean up a milk mess in their own barn). Although that would be a small dent in our deficit it could begin getting rid of some of it. Also we have another billion that is just in interest every day. Once we start cutting down on some of that and paying the interest then and only then could we start getting it under control... how we are going to do that though... no idea. lol. Money is so stupid! Anyways. Good rant and I enjoyed ranting back :-)

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 6 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      @Brett - Great thought... I think it is just something that will continue to hang over our heads.. although I do think they shouldn't be of the highest payroll - they work for us and I think they make way too much money. Use our taxes for something else!

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 6 years ago from Thailand

      Just like the UK, I don't think it can be cured. As soon as something is cut, or tax increased, there is uproar and the government loses support, or is voted out. Hence, they just keep 'borrowing' (printing) more money to try and keep the people happy :-s. I think it was Molometer that pointed out that tax was actually only supposed to be temporary and that this government has grown too big and costly.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 6 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      @MJ White - first and foremost, thank you for stopping by and commenting. I think your idea is stellar! I know I would be more likely to buy a lottery ticket if I knew it was helping with the budget. Yet, with more money coming in, they might be apt to spend more money that they wouldn't have otherwise. I think we need to get a true housewife in there. She knows the in and outs of balancing a budget!

    • profile image

      MJ White 6 years ago

      Very good post you do have an understanding of the issues at hand. But there has to be away somehow or we are all in for a world of hurt like you said.

      One thought I had is why not have a lottery for the US Deficit? Any one any where can buy a ticket and win a jackpot prize (money, house, car, bonds/stocks, trips) and the money from the sales would go to pay on the deficit. I believe that if people knew it would help the country they would participate in a big way...especially if they are getting something in return.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 7 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      Ha ha - I will become naturally possessed! I love that!

    • TheManWithNoPants profile image

      TheManWithNoPants 7 years ago from Tucson, Az.


      You're a natural at this kid. Before long, when some one brings up a pollitical issue, your eyes will pop out, your head starts spinning while you're puking out beautiful green projectiles. Then you'll start speaking in a deep devil voice .."F##k OBAMA!!!!" REDRUM REDRUM!!" You'll be awesome.


    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 7 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      Thanks for the wonderful comments. Like I said once before... I usually try to stay away from political stuff. It gets me worked up and typically don't like offending other people. I guess in away, I like to keep the peace.

      However, the financial crisis this country is going through and has been for sometime is something that needs everybody's attention and everybody's concern. I like the whole money bucket idea. Yes - it has a whole in it. As a business owners and even families... we all must stick to a budget. Usually when these budgets are not followed these people get in trouble. They are forced to file bankruptcy or just avoid the collections calls. Well, were are the collection calls on the United States. They are spending more than they have and yet they think very little about it. I don't see politicians saying lower my salary and put it toward the deficit. Yet taking away from the middle class is no problem. I see way too many people who work the system and try to get along on welfare benefits. It isn't that I mind if a person is trying to help themselves, but it shouldn't be a way of life. It should be a time limit. The fraud needs to be stopped and it is something we all have to work toward.

      Okay, now I got myself all worked up... ha ha - maybe I should do another ranting hub. It is fun to rant occasionally! :)

      Thanks for bringing this article back to my mind. It seemed to have been forgotten by me!

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 7 years ago

      Two things must happen, and happen soon. Implement a Tax Structure such as a National Sales Tax to replace our current monstrosity that gives many a free pass. When you spend a dollar you pay your taxes, regardless of how or where you got the money.

      Close the drain holes in the money bucket or we will never get it full again. Our money bucket leaks so bad with pure waste, no wonder it is empty.

      It really is just that simple. Families are forced to do this to run their households, why not our government?

      This was an outstanding rant by the way, a pleasure meeting you.

    • TheManWithNoPants profile image

      TheManWithNoPants 7 years ago from Tucson, Az.

      You know what I'm going to say B.G. Before I begin, let me say that I admire you're not wanting to ruffel feathers. I like feather ruffling. I've found that dumb asses get their feathers ruffled easily.

      As I said in my last hub, there is fifty billion in medicare and medicade fraud yearly. In business no one would solve a problem by taking something out of the bucket before fixing the hole in the bottom. If you stop and think about it. If you can take money away from a program and it still functions, it means you over spent. If you take money away, and it doesn't function properly, the program is failing. Either way, it means that our managers screwed up. Putting band aids on the crap they screw up is prolonging the problem, and counter productive to fixing the cause of the screw up.

      The old stuff shirts are very poor at running a business. We have to do our home work as voters before putting some of these slugs in office. The first step in fixing these problems is taking responsibility for electing these chumps in the first place.

      I should just come in here and say, "Good hub, bla, bla .. It IS a GREAT hub, but as of the last year, making life tough for people who are screwing us, is what I do for a living. I know we "fart" around a lot, but you are cool. Keep up the good work here!


    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 7 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      Well said... really what they are is just a bunch of talkers. I often wonder if they should really be paid as much as they do. After all, they talk the talk but never do anything about it. Talk is cheap - why aren't they compensated the same!

    • Tages profile image

      Tages 7 years ago from Texas

      Everyone talks sacred cows and everything else, what it boils down to is there are too many desk jockeys filling out forms in triplicate. Eliminate the Bureaucracy. Too many post exist that act as personal favors. There are now over 128 Intelligence Agencies, and none communicate with each other. For example, do we need an ATF, FBI, and DEA? They all do the same thing and get in jurisdictional fights that require legal counsel. If you canned two of the three you can slash 50% of the overhead and streamline processes, ultimately making America safer in the process. Senators and Congressmen love starting and continuing programs and agencies that are worthless. It gives them a permanent legacy and allows them to say, “Hey, I support the environment, drug enforcement, or a vegan diet.”

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 7 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      The system is corrupt. Unfortunately the people who want to change it have no control. That seems to be the sad reality. As I read your comment the first thing that came to mind was how the president and his wife first purchased new China for their dinner parties upon entering the White House. Okay... I get it... people want new dishes. Hell, I want new dishes. But I heard this set cost 12 million dollars. So go to your local Walmart and buy some good plates there. That 12 million dollars could have been used elsewear for something much better.

      The other thing that disturbs me is the differences in pay for most people. You have those that can easily donate money and not even bat an eye. (I am talkign about those that can donate a million dollars to a fund) How about donating to the national deficit. Not that it would matter - since the government wouldn't use that money to clear the deficit anyway.

      Unfortuanately the system is corrupt and those who run the system are corrupt and if someone good gets in there that wants to make a change, the system will probably corrupt them as well. It is an evil circle that will never be stopped.

    • joshhunt83 profile image

      joshhunt83 7 years ago from Bristol

      I really enjoyed this hub as this is a problem not unique to America. I live in the UK and the government has made huge public spending cuts and raised taxes. We're seeing a considerable drop in living standards and unemployment continues to rise. The trouble is people believe their taxes are going towards public services and things that help our country when the truth is the majority of taxes are going into the deep pockets of the fed or the central banking system. The whole system is so corrupt that it makes me really mad. I read an article the other day that said nearly 50% of the USA's $13 trillion debt is owed to individuals and organisations in the US. While people are losing their homes, their jobs, struggling to feed their children or fill up their cars with fuel the Fed is sucking up all your hard earned money and it is going into the pockets of a few. I find it utterly disgusting. We can talk about cuts all we want but the truth is the national deficit will never go away because it isn't supposed to. The western world is controlled by the central banking systems in place and until we remove these banks we'll always be slave to the enormous debts in place.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 7 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      Thanks for the comment. I am glad you enjoyed it. I kind of think the whole debt issue is a lose lose situation. Somewhere, someone is going to lose and they are going to be mad about it!

    • CHRIS57 profile image

      CHRIS57 7 years ago from Northern Germany

      Public depts are always a problem.

      They are created by administrations who know, they will never be made responsible for their mess.

      And there is this tricky bookkeeper thinking that there is always enough collateral for backing. Is that so?

      Definitely not. Imho the US is close to bankruptcy if investors impose foreclosure on the US by withdrawing their money.

      The 2011 deficit is planned to be some 1,6 Trillion. That is 11,5% of the current accumulated dept. If it keeps rising like this the accumulated dept will double in the next 6 years.

      Cut on medicare: No, breaking a promise and generation contract is not fair.

      Cut on social security: No, never blame the poor and disabled for the mess the abled and rich accomplished.

      Cut of military: Yes, to reasonable level, put away with the strategy to be able to fight two world conflicts at the same time.

      Rise of taxes: Yes, with tax revenues of 2,2 Trillion and a GNP of 14 Trillion the US is not far away from the medieval time where you had to give your 10th. It is a myth that the US has the highest taxes in the world.

      Even if i contradict with everyone in this hub and comments, I enjoy the hub, thank you.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 7 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      Thanks for your comment Robschwenck. You bring up some great and valid points! I will be looking for you in 2016! ;)

    • robschwenck profile image

      robschwenck 7 years ago from Central New Jersey

      Dave is a great flick.

      While I agree with you on many issues, I have to disagree on some as well. The military budget is out of control and must be reigned in. While it is uncomfortable to do so for fear of foreign threats, it is to some around the world the omnipresence of the American Military that generates the ill will towards us as a nation. Just one example is OBL's opposition to US bases in Saudi Arabia. We have the technology to deploy a base anywhere in the world complete with infrastructure virtually overnight if necessary; we don't need standing bases around the globe.

      Social Security is a ponzi scheme because its solvency is dependent on new payers entering the system to fund payouts to those who have left. The SS chief may have well been Madoff. Worse, it was never meant to pay very many people since the original retirement age was 2 years beyond the average life expectancy at the time. Pin the retirement age to 2 years past the 5 year average of the annual average life expectancy and the program can survive without being a burden to the deficit or to taxpayers.

      Speaking of taxpayers, give them all a break. We have the highest taxes in the world, causing people who can choose anywhere to live to pick elsewhere. We lower our tax rates, they move to the US and pay us taxes rather than country X. Even better, abolish the income tax in favor of the Fair Tax and enable the taxation of foreign visitors as they sightsee.

      Bam, budget balanced; deficit erased; debt being paid off; dollar becoming stronger; vote me in 2016. ;)

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 7 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      I will definately have to check that movie out... surprisingly, I haven't seen it yet.

    • thewayeyeseeit profile image

      thewayeyeseeit 7 years ago from Woodstock, GA

      You have to see the movie "Dave" to understand this method of reducing the deficit... Hire Maury, the accountant to handle the books.

    • profile image

      Kepeza 7 years ago

      I'm inclined to agree with the author and he is right that those four areas are the biggest spending areas. However, where you hit the mark is on the lower class getting gov't money while paying nothing into the system. To get HUGE refunds when you pay nothing into it (or little) is disturbing, and should be to everyone. I have two brothers whom are police officers making under standard pay, both served in the military, and now struggle. They both get back enormous refunds and I find it incredulous that they get back MORE than they paid. Do they deserve a better salary?...absolutely~! But they don't deserve 4-5K back a year in refunds cause they don't make enough. I worked hard (retired military)and am now working for the Fed gov't. I chose my direction as anyone could. I live in my means and know financially how many children I can afford to bring into this world. I could write a response as long as the article, but will spare the readers. I just think that the best way to pay down this deficit is to quit spending on those that don't help themselves. I think that foodstamps should exclude soda's, candy, and anything not nutricious in value. Then enforce the corruption in those welfare programs. And on and on and on...

    • profile image

      tronsark20 7 years ago

      1 thing. Eliminate GOVERNMENT WASTE.