The principle players are all at odds with one another AND the lobbies still have their influence fucking things up. How does one person get saddled with cleaning the house when so many others live in the same house and have as much to do with the mess?
On tackling the debt, there's really only one solution: decrease spending, increase revenue. What we should acknowledge is that we might not be able to immediately fix anything, only make it less bad
A decrease in spending can only come from one of a few sources and not unduly injure the poor. But 100$ hammers should not be the norm, but it's a problem with health care, military spending, and likely any number of other projects: inflated costs. Cutting unemployment, food stamps, and medical care coverage are all bad ideas. Better ideas? Spend the money wisely. For instance: birth control is insanely cheap compared to carrying out a pregnancy, why is there opposition to free birth control? Aspirin costs almost nothing, but hospitals charge anyone who stays 20$ a pill, because customers are insured and won't see the cost. We are estimated to spend nearly $400 billion on the F-35, a Swiss Army Knife of a plane to replace a what amount to bowie knives for one service, screwdrivers for another, and tweezers for the last. Does every hospital need so many expensive machines? Is it wise to test for everything when testing for the most likely cause of a set of symptoms is cheap and easy to test for and treat? The key really isn't cuts, the key is savings. Our government isn't cutting coupons. It's not doing comparative shopping. What it's doing is buying those expensive sound cables that do nothing for audio quality.
An increase in revenue? The only choice we have here is increasing taxes. Broadening the base really can't be done without hitting up the poor, and doing that is counter-productive. So what to do? Start somewhere, and increase taxes for those making more than 250K a year to their Clinton-era totals. Hitting 100% is not good, but we have, at times, hit a 90% tax rate for top earners, and those were considered good years. We have also, at times, had actual laws limiting the amount of money people could earn personally; which may need to go into effect. We haven't really taken any drastic action on this part, but if things continue badly, we might just have to.
The kind of decrease in spending you propose is chump change in comparison to the amount of welfare expendetures that the government provides. There is no real solution to the budget unless you fundamentally tackle that welfare expendeture head on. A better question would be what Americans, as a society, define the role of government to be. If Americans truly want the role of government to be a personal care-taker, a nanny-state, as some call it, then they need to prepare to offer up the kind of revenue to support it.
You propose increasing the taxes on everyone making over 250k a year to their Clinton Era totals. I'm not sure how much of a great idea that is because we need to strive to do everything we can to increase the number of businesses that are in America so we can provide stable jobs. An increase in taxes does discourage businesses from staying. Can we also agree then that if we were to revert to Clinton era taxation levels, can we also agree that we may need to revert to Clinton era spending levels?
Furthermore, let's also talk about the total taxes that businesses do have to pay. Already the income tax on people earning more than 350k is about 35% federally. If they live in a state like California, which now has an additional 13.3% (as of this election), their total tax that they have to pay is about 48.3% of their income. That's nearly half. So if you are making 350k at the end of the year, you will be walking away with about 172-5k. It's a pretty huge deterrent to anyone who wants to establish a business, grow, and become prosperous.
When there was a 94% top rate in 1944-45, there were so many deductions and exclusions that the taxable income was not comparable to someone's entire income. First, the top rate started at $200,000, which today is equal to $2,413,059.90 — so the maximum EMTR would apply only to incomes of $2.5 million. But, that's still taxable income, not earned income.
In 1944, you could deduct business meals, all business travel, all forms of interest payments, and much more. You could even deduct spousal travel expenses on a business trip! (Why travel alone?) Companies could also "loan" or "provide" almost anything to an employee, from an apartment to standard benefits. It was possible to shelter tens of thousands of dollars from taxable income. Three-martini lunches and expense accounts were important realities, skewing tax calculations.
As a result of deductions and exclusions, even the theoretical maximum Real Rate of taxation at 60% in 1944 overstates taxation dramatically. The reality? On earned income, the richest U.S. taxpayers paid close to 40 percent of their earned incomes in taxes in 1944.
Even if you cut all the services that government can cut right now without needing to pass laws (ie. non SS, Medicare, and other welfare programs) you will still not have enough revenue coming in to pay the bills.
Furthermore, the 90% tax on income was a completely diffirent tax structure that was not how we interpret it today.
I wouldn't be so sure that potential savings are chump change: nixing the F-35 alone could save at least a hundred billion, if not more. Every bit helps, and there's any number of places to look for savings. Efficiency is the key.
You propose increasing the taxes on everyone making over 250k a year to their Clinton Era totals. I said it was a start, not the end-all solution.
I'm not sure how much of a great idea that is because we need to strive to do everything we can to increase the number of businesses that are in America so we can provide stable jobs. An increase in taxes does discourage businesses from staying. Businesses don't spring from the rich like Athena from Zeus's head. There has to be a fertile soil, there have to be customers for a business to grow. The middle class are that soil, not the rich. The rich may be farmers in this analogy, but a farmer with a bunch of seeds in the desert is just as screwed as the farmer with none in the Mississippi floodplain.
Already the income tax on people earning more than 350k is about 35% federally. If they live in a state like California, which now has an additional 13.3% (as of this election), their total tax that they have to pay is about 48.3% of their income. It doesn't work like that, the effective federal income tax rate for a single person earning 388,350$ is only 29%. The effective tax rate for the high end of the next lowest bracket, ~180K is 22%. That would mean that the effective federal income tax rate for everyone between 180 and 388K is between 22-29%. If you make 388,351, you will only pay 35% on the 1 dollar you make above 388,350. Anyone making roughly 390K is still taking home at least 275K after federal income taxes; and that's without deductions. I will say that California has a lot of problems, though. Too many expenditures, not enough revenue, and the ballot-initiative system it has is often counter-productive. If I remember right, efforts to introduce high-speed rail have been foiled repeatedly once any planning is started several times; adding several billion to the cost of it every single time.