After playing the New York Times' "budget puzzle" many of you shared your thoughts and solutions here and on the Brian Lehrer Show about how you'd help balance the federal budget.
Here's what you had to say:
I solved the budget crisis mostly on the revenue side. I removed the Bush tax cuts for the rich, created a millionaire's tax, carbon tax, and bank tax, returned the estate tax and investment rates to Clinton levels and raised the Payroll tax cap. I capped medicare growth, however, this will require medical care regulation through reform not through taxation. Over-utilization is the major problem here, i.e. doctors make more money when they provide more medical care. A cost incentive that must be outlawed. I also eliminated loopholes but kept taxes slightly higher and reduced the mortgage income tax deduction.
-- Brian in Brooklyn
I accomplished balancing the budget through 59 percent spending cuts and 41 percent revenue increases. When the health care bill came out last year I was just really disappointed that they gave up on the idea of trying to get universal coverage for people...I guess I always thought in the back of my head that the way you could achieve universal health care coverage was through military cuts and I was really struck on the puzzle by how little savings there really is to gain by cutting the defense budget.
-- Matt in Long Island, on The Brian Lehrer Show
Reverting to Clinton-era economics is the easiest way to solve the budget issue. If we didn't call them "Clinton-era" would the obvious choices be chosen?
-- Dan in Brooklyn
I solved it... And, with a cringe, I raised my own taxes and added more years before I can retire. But we all have to share the pain. Tax savings/spending cuts ratio in my solution is 18/82. I don't like the job losses that will come from this, but what are the options?
-- E. Rorschach in Manhattan
Cut the military budget and tax the rich.
I wish the Times has focused more on inter-generational priorities. Like many people, I chose to raise the Social Security eligibility age to 70. With a growing life expectancy, and the system's insolvency, this seems an obvious move. But this is essentially penalizing a bunch of people who are teens or in their twenties right now for the mistakes their parents, and their parents' elected representatives, made over the last 20 years. So here's a bit of political suicide — since we are asking so much of today's teens, how about the CURRENT crop of retirees forgo ONE year of benefits in exchange for their kids foregoing FIVE years. Who is willing to step up to this? Certainly one year without expenditures would put Social Security solidly in the black.
-- Ben in Park Slope
What about raising the corporate tax rate? This was cut decades ago under Ronald Reagan. At the time corporations were not seeking lower rates and were making excellent profits. Perhaps this is a good time to raise them.
-- Accra in Queens