A Balanced Budget
March 4, 2011
For our federal government to have a balanced budget, it must do exactly what each of us must do if we want a balanced personal budget: spend no more than we take in.
The temporary fix agreed upon the first week of March calls for a decrease in federal spending of only 4 billion dollars. Multiply that by 317 and you get to the actual projected excess of spending over income, $1.27 trillion or $1,270 billion dollars. 4 billion dollars is nonsense when we are out of whack for a single year by 1,270 billion dollars.
The two of us are supporters of the two political parties that are now so polarized that both are called dysfunctional, ineffective, disgraceful and totally incapable of addressing complex problems. In terms of the paragraphs that follow, you don’t need to know which of us is a Republican and which a Democrat because we are in 100% agreement.
We believe that the stopgap budget agreed upon on March 2, 2011, passed to keep our government afloat for just 2 weeks, is ridiculous and demonstrates the absence of resolve to do what we both feel must be done to address our more than 1 trillion dollar annual deficit and our cumulative total deficit of 15.1 trillion dollars in fiscal year 2011. We both believe there must be massive cuts in dollars spent on:
Medicare: Start by looking for, reducing and harshly punishing Medicare fraud. Open up Medicare coverage of prescription drugs to competitive bidding in the purchasing of medications (now not possible for this extremely expensive and rapidly increasing federal expenditure).
Medicaid: (the largest entitlement program): This program needs a complete overhaul. We should start by looking for, reducing and harshly punishing Medicaid fraud.
Social Security: We both believe that the age at which social security payments begin must be raised and that social security taxes (FICA taxes) should be paid for all the income a person earns. There should be no cap on social security taxes paid on earned income. This might help satisfy anyone that thinks the rich should be more heavily taxed.
Defense: Our nation spends almost half of all dollars spent in the world on implements of warfare, military personnel, military buildings, defense, offence and transportation. Some would have us believe that the biggest threat to our country lies in terrorism and illegal immigration. We have become a nation of mercenaries meaning that we are sending forth the soldiers of the world. The only problem is that we are not getting paid but are paying for the “privilege” of sending our young men into harm’s way. Bob Fink’s personal war was Korea. This is where we backed a proven thief, Syngman Rhee, then Viet Nam another autocrat and Bosnia etc. Why are we still in Germany, Japan, and Korea? The Second World War has been over for more than half a century. We are pouring billions of tax dollars into the economies of these countries and not getting a cent in return. Bring our troops home and put them on our borders and put the money into our flagging economy.
Health Care Costs: These costs must come down in many, many ways, but begin by eliminating TV advertising for drugs and TV advertising by lawyers that want to promote suits regarding the use of those drugs.
Earmarks: Eliminate them entirely
Lest you think that these are the only issues we agree on, they are NOT. We have other important shared concerns and agree on possible approaches to some of these concerns. Our wish is simple: that our elected officials in Washington act as though they really wanted to get to the bottom of big issues by putting aside the polarization that is paralyzing our efforts to move ahead.
Bob Fink hails from Philadelphia, left home and joined the army at age 16, was injured when dropped from the sky into North Korea, received rehab care at VA hospitals, attended Georgia Tech, had four children and is Chairman of the Republican Party of Rabun County.
Bob Hatcher hails from Douglaston, Long Island, attended Williams College and Cornell Medical School, was an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer at the CDC and has been a professor of gynecology and obstetrics at Emory University in Atlanta since 1968.