FreedomYankee (correct, my apologies) called Social Security "low hanging fruit" and recommended that we look elsewhere for cuts since it is morally wrong to pull the benefits from those who have "paid in" their entire lives. Yankee Patriot is right, it is morally wrong and the politicians who refused to make the hard choices are as much to blame as an infantile public that kept putting the con men into office. But Social Security isn't "low hanging fruit" by any stretch of reality.
Bottom line is that the Federal government has been bankrupt for years.
Sixty percent of the US Federal Budget goes to "non-discretionary" spending. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, mandatory interest payments on the debt.
Sixty percent of the US Federal Budget accounts for 100% of Federal Revenue. Did you get that? Before even a dime is spent on all the alphabet soup agencies (CIA, DIA, DOD, FBI, IRS, TSA, DHS, USM, etc) all the tax money gathered for the entire year has already been spent.
So where does that "discretionary spending" funding come from? Debt. This is why the "debt ceiling" has been continuously raised every year over the last decade. Unless the fedgov can FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE NON-DISCRETIONARY SPENDING there is no way to stop borrowing money. When ALL discretionary spending is borrowed money you have to borrow money.
And discretionary spending is low hanging fruit. This is the funding that the Republicans threatened a government shutdown over. This is the 80 billion in "cuts" that cut nothing. These are the cuts that only require a simple majority in Congress. Things that are "non-discretionary" require a SUPER MAJORITY.
Until Federal Revenue is larger than the Federal Budget the only way to fund the .gov is by increasing the public debt. Since you could get rid of ALL discretionary spending and still barely break even, there is no real "low hanging" fruit to solve this problem.
There are only two types of cuts, significant and insignificant. So far EVERYTHING from BOTH SIDES of the aisle has been INSIGNIFICANT.
Simply by getting rid of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid (and CHIP) and slicing the DOD budget in half the Federal Budget would be fixed. Why? Because that accounts for 50% of the budget right there.
That would allow the fedgov to reduce our public debt to ZERO in a grand total of... (drumroll please lets see 2.2 trillion (revenue) minus 1.75 trillion (half the current budget) equals 0.45 Trillion, 0.45 goes in to 14.3 trillion (the current debt) how many times?) 32 years not factoring in the interest on that debt. So imagine, 32 years just to cover the PRINCIPLE of what we owe, so tack on another 12 years to cover the interest on that principle and we are looking at 44 years....
Look, the numbers don't lie. We have borrowed more money, more quickly, than any nation over the history of all humanity. We are in uncharted territory as far as the shear size of this fiscal crisis.
The Republicans don't have a supermajority and the Dems won't touch SS, Medicare or Medicaid. I was hoping for a Government Shutdown because it would be the only thing that would actually save any money.
So it is morally right for those of us under 50 to DEMAND that Social Security be stopped even while we have to keep paying payroll taxes (the numbers won't allow a balanced budget any other way). We are so far up shit creek that this is our only feasible option to get back to solvency.