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Stabilize the US Debt (with Calculators!)

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by JerichoHill, Jun 2, 2010.

  1. JerichoHill

    JerichoHill Bedrock of Knowledge

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    10,384
    Location:
    Washington DC
    1. Click HERE
    (http://crfb.org/stabilizethedebt/)

    2. Play around and attempt to stabilize the debt

    3. List your Solution and explain it.

    (Note: CFRB is a non-partisan think-tank that's very concerned about our budget issues. They actually are non-partisan. Shocking)

    JH's Solution:
    It is obvious that I'm an urban economist. We tend to look at transportation and housing tax issues as highly distortionary in their current set up, so we'd want to correct those. I may have been too harsh on the military and could be convinced (in a debate) to drop the dependent exemption increase and add back in all non-troop level military cuts (cut 190 there, get 170 back into the military). It also seems obvious that if we are measuring inflation in a biased fashion, correcting that should be a non-partisan easy fix.

    Changes under the spoiler tag.

    Spoiler :

    Spending

    Reduce Troops to 60,000 by 2015 (Afghan + Iraq)
    -$350B
    Enact Administration's Proposed Weapon System Cuts
    -$30B
    Cancel Missile Defense System
    -$50B
    Reverse "Grow the Army" Initiative
    -$90B
    Cancel TARP and Rescind Unused ARRA Funds
    -$350B
    Enact New Jobs Bill
    $210B
    Grow Regular Discretionary Spending with Inflation
    $0
    Eliminate Certain Outdated Programs
    -$40B
    Reduce Farm Subsidies
    -$80B
    Cut Earmarks in Half
    -$80B
    Increase Mass Transit Funding
    $60B

    Revenue
    Allow All the Tax Cuts, Except for AMT Patches, to Expire
    $480
    Gradually Reduce Food Stamps Benefits to 2008 Levels
    -100B
    Freeze Average Unemployment Benefits at 2009 Levels
    -$50B
    Progressively Reduce Benefits, Protecting Low and Medium Earners
    -$60B
    Use An Alternate Measure of Inflation for COLAs
    -$100B
    Increase Years Used to Calculate Benefits
    -$40B
    Include all New State and Local Workers into SS
    -$80B
    Enact Medical Malpractice Reform
    -$50B
    Increase User Fees Across the Board
    -$40B
    Increase Gas Tax by 10 Cents per Gallon
    -$80B
    Gradually Increase Dependent Exemption by $3,500
    $190B
    Index Tax Code to Alternate Measure of Inflation
    -$80B
    Improve Tax Collection (Reduce Tax Gap)
    -$20B
    Convert Mortgage Interest Deduction to a 20% Credit
    -$190B
    Eliminate Subsidies for Biofuels
    -$110B
    Expand the EITC and Child Tax Credit
    $90B
    Extend "American Opportunity" College Tax Credit
    $60B
    Repeal Excise Tax on High-Cost Plans (Health Care)
    $10B
     
  2. Karalysia

    Karalysia Deity

    Joined:
    May 29, 2009
    Messages:
    8,438
    That was fun:

    You reduced the debt to 55% of GDP in 2018, and kept it at a sustainable level through 2030.

     
  3. Princeps

    Princeps More bombs than God

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2004
    Messages:
    5,265
    Can you abolish patents?
     
  4. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2004
    Messages:
    13,725
    I gave it a whirl, but only got down to 68%, so I need to think it over again.

    Is there any kind of economic growth modeling in this sim as well? Since it represents about 2 decades, then it'd be good if there was economic feedback to some of the options.

    E.g. some options would likely have a positive or negative effect on the GDP directly (tax cuts/subsidies to industry), while others indirectly (e.g. investing in the workforce).

    Also it would interesting if some of the national security decisions had feedback with some kind of probability. E.g. what's the probability of increased domestic terrorism if we pull out of Afghan and Iraq early?
     
  5. BSmith1068

    BSmith1068 Deity Retired Moderator

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    Omaha, NE
    Here is mine after a quick run-through:

     

    Attached Files:

  6. Leoreth

    Leoreth 心の怪盗団 Moderator

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    I think that's up to the user to decide. I played it through just to see what options the US government has, but wasn't entirely serious because I'm no US citizen. I still tried to achieve 60% without higher taxes which would be counterproductive.
     
  7. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2002
    Messages:
    15,895
    Location:
    Canada
    That was easy:

     
  8. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    28,601
    Location:
    London, UK
    lol ^^

    Mine:



    50:50 revenue to spending is probably too high on the revenue side. Should be more like 1:2 or 1:3. Would have been better if it was all on one giant page rather than sequentially.
     
  9. JerichoHill

    JerichoHill Bedrock of Knowledge

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    10,384
    Location:
    Washington DC
    The underlying data includes economic projections, though i think for only reasonable alternatives (umm yeah)
     
  10. Integral

    Integral Can't you hear it?

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    Messages:
    4,021
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    It won't let me axe the 2001/2003 tax cuts?

    Posting results in a minute.

    edit:
    Choices:
    Spoiler :
    Iraq and Afghanistan
    - Reduce Troops to 60,000 by 2015

    2001/2003 Tax Cuts
    - Allow all the tax cuts except AMT patches expire

    Discretionary Spending Path
    - Grow regular discreationary spending with inflation

    Defense, Diplomacy, and Security
    - Increase foreign economic aid by 50%
    - Cancel the Missile Defense System
    - Reduce Spending on Ship Building
    - Reverse the "Grow the Army" initiative

    Domestic Social and Economic Spending
    - Index current (post-stimulus) food stamp benefits to GDP

    Social Security
    - Raise the normal retirement age to 68
    - Gradually reduce scheduled benefits (by 30% in 2080)
    - Use an alternative measure of inflation for COLAs

    Healthcare
    - Repeal the reform law but keep cost controls
    - raise premiums to 35% of costs

    Other
    - Eliminate certain outdated programs
    - Reduce farm subsidies
    - cut earmarks in half
    - Increase mass transit funding

    Revenues
    - Increase user fees across the board
    - Enact cap-and-trade
    - increase gas tax by 10 cents per gallon
    - gradually increase dependent exemption by $3500
    - gradually increase payroll tax by 100 basis points
    - raise payroll tax to cover 90% of earnings
    - index tax code to alternate measure of inflation
    - reduce tax gap

    Tax Expenditures
    - Eliminate subsidies for biofuels
    - make R&D tax credit permanent
    - extend the Making Work Pay tax credit
    - Expand EITC
    - Extend the college tax credit
    - Replace employer health exclusion with a flat credit




    I managed to keep some pet projects (EITC, TANF, foreign aid) but gutted Social Security in the process. Pity.
     
  11. Princeps

    Princeps More bombs than God

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    5,265
    Where's the "find moar treasure" option?

    But anyway, first shred or cut any programs or things you dislike, then raise as much revenue to cover the rest. I didn't raise any more revenue than was necessary for that. Its rather easy, in this interface, but undoubtedly the political realities always would make it more difficult in real life.

    An explanation for all options would have been convenient, at least a sort of small pop-up "facts" card. Edit: oh wait. Nevermind.
     
  12. JohnRM

    JohnRM Don't make me destroy you

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    55% by 2018

    Combination of cuts, tax increases.


    I'd also like the option of cutting 300 billion from national defense.
     
  13. civ_king

    civ_king Deus Caritas Est

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    16,368

    my glorious socialist paradise
    :smug:
     
  14. dirtyparrot

    dirtyparrot Upholding Brannigan's Law

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    I got it to 53%. Mine is sort of similar to Karalysia except I spent more domestically.
     
  15. Snorrius

    Snorrius Le libre-penseur

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    Zelig
    That's cool. I was able to get it only to 37% though I am sure Americans would revolt somewhere in 2015 already.
     
  16. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Without trying too awful hard and with the limited choices the sim allows...

     
  17. GoodSarmatian

    GoodSarmatian Blackpilled Idealist

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    I got a "Nice try". I managed to get it to about 61% by 2018 and under 60% by 2020 while mostly sparing and middle income and increasing government research expenditures and healthcare coverage.
    Like most commies here I mainly increased revenue.
     
  18. Earthling

    Earthling Deity

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    Messages:
    8,518
    Got 56%; slight positives in domestic and healthcare, about half bars on revenue and tax expenditures each, small negatives elsewhere, social security maybe 1/4 of the way negative and defense 1/8. Really didn't seem like a lot of choices that could have been made were there. I did NOT go with the VAT tax increase because VAT seems to be a poor system to implement in the US but if the equivalent revenue could be raised in other forms of tax increases I might have done that. Also the only defense cutting was in Iraq/Afghanistan and I funded R&D (non-specific) elsewhere that actually cost money. Having better ways to cut defense and specify what was what would be another thing I would have wanted to see in the program.

    Congrats to Zelig on the high score though.
     
  19. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    13,725
    So in otherwords, if there is an economic policy option, then the benefits of that option are included in the itemized cost? I find that hard to believe with the tax cut options as well as the subsidies.


    Just saying that without those considerations, this isn't anything like an Expected value for the budget. It just gives one a clue about how hard it is to be a policy values hardliner and still make budget.
     
  20. Integral

    Integral Can't you hear it?

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    Messages:
    4,021
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    I might well be wrong, but the numbers look awfully similar to some of the CBO's yearly "Budget Options" reviews. Perhaps that's where they are coming from?

    Speculation here.

    edit: a quick glance at the FAQ confirms my suspicion.
     

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