The ugly yet possible truth of balancing the federal budget

We’ve heard a lot of talk about balancing the federal budget, securing our nation for our children and grandchildren lately. It’s a tea party mantra, but not a new idea. Several decades of deficit spending under governments run by either or both parties have led us to this low place.

Esquire magazine took a few days to hash out a budget solution that would secure Social Security, balance the budget and attack the national debt by the year 2020. Most of the items on the list would be extremely unpopular in an electoral context, but when you read them you’ll probably catch yourself admitting: this could work. If we could get a majority of Americans to endorse the notion of doing something difficult, that has negative effects in the short run, to secure the government in the long run, we could do this. Take a look yourself. You don’t have to balance the budget this way, but remember that everything you change has to be accompanied either with a specific, quantifiable tax increase or a specific spending cut. Be specific. And the budget is 75 percent military, Social Security or Medicare — all things considered “politically untouchable.”


  1. I support it as is. The majority of Americans would support it as is.

    However, this won’t even get a committee hearing under any liberal controlled legislature or Congress.

    Provide us feedback as you begin discussing this plan with Anzelc,

  2. Good read, everything sounds reasonable although I would add that all newly hired public employees are entered into defined contribution retirement plans. I think the public sector could take a bigger cut over 10 years, 10% seems reasonable, but 7% as a compromise would be acceptable. Also tax cuts should be targeted or indexed to job creation, no sense cutting taxes to someone who is not creating jobs if the cuts are meant to be stimulative.

  3. Charles Marohn says

    If you continue to be so earnest and reasonable, Aaron, I am going to have to stop reading this blog. What are blogs for if not throwing out bombastic criticism or mindless platitudes?

    By the way, this is a great plan. I can see the Minnesota Whig party supporting such a thing.

    Here I come in my Tory Lorry.

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