With all the oxygen being sucked up by the Green New Deal (GND) scam, at least some folks are trying to talk about serious stuff like the debt crisis. The problem is that there is more emphasis on score settling than serious solutions. Steven Rattner from the administration of the 44th president lets us know in the NYT that your grandchildren are already in debt. Steve is right and we are delighted that a leftist mentions the entitlement problem but:
In a perfect world, those programs would function like insurance; each generation’s annual premiums would pay for support received during its golden years. That principle was abandoned long ago. Based on the current demographics of the American population, we would need to set aside $49 trillion to make the Medicare and Social Security Trust Funds truly solvent. [Emphasis added]
The problem with the principle in bold is that it was never adopted. Many a Facebook post suggest it is a principle but it is not. W tried to get us there some years ago on Social Security but neither party bought his pitch.
John Phelan from the Center for the American Experiment lets us know in the Star Tribune that The US Is (Still) Heading For A Debt Crisis. John is also right. John and Steve are on opposite sides of the aisle so this seems great.
It is not. Steve is all about taxes. GOP tax cuts, according to Steve, are the cause of the deficits. He wants higher taxes on the rich. He has a neat chart of the deficit but he never mentions that the first four annual deficits of a trillion dollars happened under his watch. And there are some spending issues related to his time in office.
John punctures Steve’s proposal:
A currently popular answer is to raise taxes, particularly on “the rich.” But historical evidence suggests that doing so will have little impact on federal government revenue.
So for John it is a spending problem and he also zeros in on entitlements:
The problem diagnosed by the CBO is not a shortage of revenue but an excess of spending. To avoid spiraling federal debt and all the problems this will bring, substantial entitlement reforms are necessary. Indeed, it will be hard to give the Trump administration a passing grade if it takes no action on this front. Without it, the nation has little hope of avoiding a fiscal crisis.
The 44th president got his second term, in part, because his opponent wanted to defuse the debt crisis and he didn’t. In 2016, both candidates pledged to make the debt crisis worse. Well, that is not what they said exactly but it is what they pledged. We need to convince the electorate that the debt crisis is the most pressing problem for the US federal government. Steve and John only help a little by agreeing that entitlements are part of the debt crisis. We need bipartisan support to solve a real crisis.
We need a compromise that increases taxes and decreases spending to get real support. We still advocate eliminating the gas tax and replacing it with a carbon tax that does not raise the price of gas. Our estimate is about $20 a ton. We eliminate all funding for alternative energy and means test Social Security. It is not a complete solution to the debt crisis but it would be a significant step in the right direction.