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Default How would you fix the budget?

November 16th, 2010, 15:46
Try it out here.

Here's how I did it. I see 71 % was done by increasing taxes.

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November 16th, 2010, 16:35
I'd not do any of that.

Instead of increasing taxes and so many other variables, just reduce the population via involuntary euthanasia.
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November 16th, 2010, 16:40
That was easy!

The Blatant Ninja plan 18% from tax increases, 82% from spending cuts

Granted, I pretty much slashed everyting under the sun on spending.

It's really amazing how much savings you get by moving the SS/Medicare ages up to reasonable levels.

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November 16th, 2010, 17:56
I cut nearly everything, especially military, but kept MediCare constant and raised SocSec only to 68. Then I raised nearly every tax, resp. reverted a couple of tax decions, and closed the loopholes.
As a result I over-reached short term by ca. 85% and long term by ca. 70%.. So it wouldn't even be necessary to be so extreme.

What really surprised me is that there is no general sales tax. Just about every country has a VAT. In Germany it's 19%.
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November 16th, 2010, 18:15
I absolutely hat the idea of VAT. For one thing, it is a regressive tax (even if you exempt necessities, it still ends up being regressive).

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November 16th, 2010, 19:37
A few of those options would probably require "partner laws" to allow people to adjust a bit. For example, cranking up the social security age is a good idea, but you'd probably want to strengthen retirement savings systems like the 401k.

I ended up a little short for 2015 (although I could have gotten there easily enough by increasing the medicare age to match the increase in social security age I put thru), but came out well ahead in 2030. 13/87 for me. The taxes I chose were Wille-era investment tax rates and removing the caps on FICA. I jumped SS up to 70 years, capped Medicare increases and got malpractice reform going. I cut everything domestically except state aid. For the military, I took options 1, 2, 5, and 7—going a little isolationist but still carrying a big stick.

Interesting exercise, Ubereil!

@BN- Bowles-Simpson is very tempting, but I just don't trust it to turn out as advertised.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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November 16th, 2010, 23:01
Some VERY tough choices in there.

Needless to say, I did by canceling tax breaks for the filthy rich, and cutting the military, plus a few odds and ends.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2…oices=w3k045qv
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November 16th, 2010, 23:24
Here is my result… wow that was easy. Of course it doesn't take into account what effects these rules would have on the economy….. but I am sure the world would be a better place if my plan was followed

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2…oices=n122n1nq
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November 16th, 2010, 23:47
The problem with increasing the retirement age stuff in general is that it really screws over people who have jobs that basically wear out their bodies. Yeah, us desk types can probably work until 80 but some heavy construction guy is gonna rip himself apart long before then.
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November 16th, 2010, 23:51
Yep, there's no good reason that people should have to be working longer to make ends meet. Talk about a giant step backwards…
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November 17th, 2010, 00:08
There is no choice at all about the retirement age….. the life expectancy is increasing rapidly…. so either we take the option some here did of killing them of faster by cutting the medicare…. or we raise the working age….

For example in sweden the expected age for a newly born is now 100 years… if you work to 65…….. that means average person is going to spend 35 years doing nothing… not going to work no matter what. Besides we don't even have the kill 'em early option… at least not with the current healthcare model, and I am glad for that.
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November 17th, 2010, 00:24
Life expectancy is a few years behind Sweden in the US.

Graph comparing life expectancy growth

U.S. Life Expectancy Lowered By Poor Health Care
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November 17th, 2010, 00:45
You still have more than a 10 year increase over the last 60 years…. so you'd still have the problem even if less serious than sweden….. this could of course be countered by reducing health-care even further.

So we are pretty much in the kill 'em or increase the retirement age anyway.
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November 17th, 2010, 00:59
Or we figure out how to be less wasteful.

EDIT: Eventually the falling birthrate will have a negative effect on senior service costs, hopefully…
Last edited by Thrasher; November 17th, 2010 at 02:22.
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November 17th, 2010, 15:27
Increasing the retirement age it problematic because it also makes an existing problem worse: In certain jobs it's simply impossible to work until you're 70. Examples: coal miners, several "extreme jobs" like painting the Golden Gate bridge, diving + underwater repairs, many jobs which are physically (reaction, fitness) or psychologically demanding (teacher in a problematic / high crime rate district).
What would you do with those people? Would you punish them because they have a job which requires things a 68 year old cannot deliver?

Retirement age is a damn complex topic.

edit: I just read that the German government decided to increase the retirement age to 67 years.
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November 17th, 2010, 15:43
Originally Posted by BillSeurer View Post
The problem with increasing the retirement age stuff in general is that it really screws over people who have jobs that basically wear out their bodies. Yeah, us desk types can probably work until 80 but some heavy construction guy is gonna rip himself apart long before then.
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
Increasing the retirement age it problematic because it also makes an existing problem worse: In certain jobs it's simply impossible to work until you're 70. Examples: coal miners, several "extreme jobs" like painting the Golden Gate bridge, diving + underwater repairs, many jobs which are physically (reaction, fitness) or psychologically demanding (teacher in a problematic / high crime rate district).
What would you do with those people? Would you punish them because they have a job which requires things a 68 year old cannot deliver?
That's why Walmart has greeters! But seriously, the real issue that we need to prepare people in industries like that for work other than that in their later years. Obviously if someone is seriously disabled due to their career, that's a different story.

Retirement age is a damn complex topic.
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Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Yep, there's no good reason that people should have to be working longer to make ends meet. Talk about a giant step backwards…
There's a very good reason. It simply is not a sustainable model to have people spending almost as long in retirement as they do working, especially when you have a shrinking ratio of workers to retirees. It just doesn't work. There is only one way to make the model sustainable and that is to reduce the number of retirees to workers. There are two ways to do that:

1) Keep people in the work force for longer
2) Increase the number of people entering labor pool

We really need a combination of both to make it work. The first is easier to plan (though harder to get people to buy into since western society has somehow decided that people have a right to retire). The second is harder because it is natural for birth rates to decline in an advanced economy, so you're not going to breed all that labor domestically. Your only real choice is immigration, which is another politically touchy subject and becomes a problem when you consider that the world cannot continually have an expanding population and be sustainable.



Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Or we figure out how to be less wasteful.
That really doesn't have much to do with fixing the problem long term. It would delay the inevitable problems for sure, but ultimately the issue is that their simply is no way to transport labor productivity from one period to the next (and labor producitivity is what ultimately supports these benefits). You can move it into storage medium (such as bonds or gold), but those only have value if there is labor procution in the future to support it.

EDIT: Eventually the falling birthrate will have a negative effect on senior service costs, hopefully…
Yes, but by that time the entire system will have collapsed, or those systems in places like the US or Western Europe that are unsustainable, that they will have borrowed so deeply from countries without those problems, that they'll be essentially indentured servents to the lenders for the foreseeable future. Not a world I want to live in (or my kids).

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November 17th, 2010, 15:58
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
That's why Walmart has greeters! But seriously, the real issue that we need to prepare people in industries like that for work other than that in their later years. Obviously if someone is seriously disabled due to their career, that's a different story.
This opens up another problem:
Somebody works in his specialized job, say, until he's 58. Then he'll need to find something else. But for this new job he will either be less qualified than the available specialists (for example if he moves from travelling work into the office) or he has to accept an unqualified position paying maybe even less than 1/3rd of his prior wage. This makes whole branches completely unattractive for young people. Why would a 20 year old enter a job if he knows he'll have to move back to the bottom for the last 10 years of his work life? And what happens to the people already stuck in such a career? All they can do is have their unions put pressure on employers and government …
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November 17th, 2010, 16:07
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
This opens up another problem:
Somebody works in his specialized job, say, until he's 58. Then he'll need to find something else. But for this new job he will either be less qualified than the available specialists (for example if he moves from travelling work into the office) or he has to accept an unqualified position paying maybe even less than 1/3rd of his prior wage. This makes whole branches completely unattractive for young people. Why would a 20 year old enter a job if he knows he'll have to move back to the bottom for the last 10 years of his work life? And what happens to the people already stuck in such a career? All they can do is have their unions put pressure on employers and government …
People just have to accept the reality of the profession. If they choose a profession that is going to yield a lower income in the last 1/3 of their working lives, they need to accept that. I don't think people will be deterred from entering those professions simply due to willful ignorance. They either won't think about that last 1/3 or they'll assume it won't happen to them. When they get there though, they'll of course whine to their unions.

But it's not going to deter the 20 year old. No 20 year old spends their high school days yearning for they day they go work in the local mine or truck driving (ok, some might, but most don't). People take those jobs because they don't see better options on the table.

The real key is to get the unions, and through them the employers and government, to provide training for these workers so that they can make the transition and maximize what income they can earn, rather than trying to prop up an unsustainable system.

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November 17th, 2010, 19:53
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
There's a very good reason. It simply is not a sustainable model to have people spending almost as long in retirement as they do working, especially when you have a shrinking ratio of workers to retirees. It just doesn't work.
Then the model should be changed. Stats quo is not progress.
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November 17th, 2010, 20:39
People don't only get older they get healthier too…. we have 97 years old running marathon… if you can run a marathon at 97 I am sure you could have done any job at 68….. to solve this we need to work with work environment and working position.. in a good working environment with ergonomical positions and recreational actibities people can work much longer, and they are sick much more seldom….. so this is the one key IMHO.
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