1) The federal government is horribly managed. (I hope that this doesn’t come as a shock to anyone.)
2) Health reform's cost savings apparently were bogus.-(Imagine that.)
3) Millions of workers don't pay into Social Security.-(Apparently, certain government workers can opt-out of the federal social security and privatize it, but the rest of America can’t. What’s wrong with that picture?)
4) The tax code is a hopeless, loophole-riddled mess. (That is why the rich don’t pay as much into the system as they’re supposed to pay. If you can afford a legion of lawyers and accountants, you can pay very little taxes, too. The loopholes should be filled before we should even entertain the idea of raising the tax rate.)
5) Obama is a big spender.(Again, I hope that this doesn’t come as a shock to anyone.)
6) It's actually not that hard to cut the deficit.(Not hard, unless you consider getting the left admit that they were wrong all along and go with what’s ultimately necessary hard.)
Here’s what he had to say about those six “gems”:
1) The federal government is horribly managed. The commission report cites just a few examples, but they are doozies. Did you know, for example, that there are 44 separate federal job-training programs across nine federal agencies? Or that there are 20 different programs all studying invasive species? And 105 programs meant to encourage participation in science, technology and math? Or that few of them can show they are achieving their goals? There are thousands of examples like this, according to the report.
2) Health reform's cost savings apparently were bogus. Remember how Democrats boasted that health reform would cut the budget deficit by $170 billion over the next decade and far more after that? The deficit commission must not have gotten that memo. It says health spending projections under the new law "count on large phantom savings" and the reform law's new long-term care program that the report calls "unsustainable." As a result, Congress will still need to enact "a number of other reforms to reduce federal health spending and slow the growth of health care costs more broadly."
3) Millions of workers don't pay into Social Security. One of the reform ideas is to require newly hired state and local workers to start paying into Social Security. Wait? Isn't Social Security mandatory? Turns out, almost 10 percent of workers don't pay in, since "a small share of states and localities exclude their employees from Social Security" and instead operate their own retirement systems. (Given Social Security's dire financial forecast, one wonders how those workers would feel about that reform.)
4) The tax code is a hopeless, loophole-riddled mess. How else can you explain the fact that, according to the report, you can lower the top marginal rate by 20 percent and still collect an additional $112,533 from the richest 1 percent of taxpayers, simply by closing loopholes?
5) Obama is a big spender. Although President Barack Obama has talked about fiscal discipline -- and set up this deficit commission -- his own budget plan would spend $350 billion more on so-called discretionary programs over the next decade than if the government were just left on autopilot, according to the report.
6) It's actually not that hard to cut the deficit. The report talks loudly about the "painful" choices ahead and how there's "no easy way out." But what the report really shows is that a comprehensive package of relatively modest and reasonable policy changes can bring deficits under control.
This was an all-too rare moment from a government commission. Too bad that it confirms and brings to light all of the conservatives assertions about Obama and the Democrats’ ill-advised policies.
I, also, loved what Nick Gillespie had to say regarding the tax issue. He had some good insight into the debate:
It's a simple, plain, and nearly universally unacknowledged fact that the feds haven't been able to raise revenue much past the 19 percent of GDP bar for any period of time since World War II. Doesn't matter the the top marginal rate is, or the bottom, or nothing. The government is going to pull in just under 19 percent maximum. Some years it might be a bit higher and some a bit lower, but it ain't budging over the long haul (defined as the last 60 or so years). That is the limit of what we can spend if we want to have a balanced budget. Obama's own budget projections have the feds spending more than 22 percent of GDP each year over the next decade. You do the math….We are in debt because we spend too much, not because we make too little as a country.
We are in debt because we spend too much, not because we make too little as a country. Let's say it again, this time in bold (I have to unbold):
Fareed Zakaria, who surely makes well north of $250,000 a year, is welcome to give all his income to a government that has only managed a nominally balanced budget a handful of times since we beat the Axis powers.
But can he have the generosity not to include the rest of us who make far south of a quarter-mil a year in his delusion that higher taxes will mean smaller deficits?
Like Paul Ryan said, “We don’t have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem.” Our government has to learn to live within its means just like their constituents.
H/T to Ed Morrissey.