I preface this blog post with this qualification: I’m in no way an economist or a debt specialist. Sometimes, I can barely keep track of where my own money goes. But with all the hullabaloo about how we’re going to alleviate some of our nearly $15 trillion dollars of debt, I felt it was time for someone with no experience in monetary matters to step in.
I’ve noticed that a lot of times, people can’t find a solution to anything because they are too deep into the game. Economists and Congresspeople can’t agree on a solution because they know too much. The best revelations come when a neutral third party takes a look at something and points out the obvious that was apparently overlooked.
Hello. I’m your neutral third party.
From what I’ve gathered from various news sources, there are three major elements that are being discussed: raising the debt ceiling, cutting spending, and raising taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Republicans don’t want to raise the debt ceiling or taxes, but they want to cut spending. Democrats don’t want to cut spending, but would rather we raise the debt ceiling and maybe or maybe not raise taxes.
There is never only one solution, regardless of the problem, and the same is true in this situation. We can’t just cut spending. We can’t just raise the debt ceiling. We can’t just raise taxes. There needs to be a combination of the three.
I call it my Everyman’s Common Sense Debt Solution™, and while it is a combination of the unpopular elements of the three components, they are all equally important to solving this crisis.
First, we must raise taxes on the richest 2% in America. I’ve talked about taxes before (twice even), and I stand by my statements: people who make more money should be expected to help out more, as the lower and middle classes can’t do it alone. Increasing taxes on the rich will provide us with more revenue to repay our debts.
Second, we must make spending cuts. It’s easy to say, but inevitably the question comes up: what do we cut spending on? Different parties, as well as different people within those parties, will disagree on which areas we should cut spending. Personally, I feel that spending should be cut in regards to the military, via bringing all of our troops home from all over the world; prisons, via eliminating or modifying some of the punishments to some of the more minor crimes; and government salaries and benefits, because you were elected to help the American people, and maybe you can do that if you had salaries and benefits similar to the American people.
I should note that spending cuts means cutting spending, not cutting spending while raising spending in other areas. The latter is not cutting spending; it’s redirecting spending. And that doesn’t solve anything. If you’re going to cut something, cut it, and have that be that.
Finally, as a safety net, we should raise the debt ceiling. This final measure is in place because the first two measures won’t work right away. If something goes completely awry in our tax raising or our spending cuts, at least there is some wiggle room to work with.
When all three items are in place, I can pretty much guarantee that we will see some change in our national debt. If it works, our debt will decrease. If it doesn’t work, our debt will increase, and we can see what works and what doesn’t. One thing is for certain, this plan will work much better than the fighting and stalling that is currently in place.
President Obama, Rep. Cantor, Speaker Boehner. Your move.