A bit of the piece I wrote before got my mind going..... I hadn't actually sat down to think about this much (other than when Bill Still was running for the Libertarian ticket), and I bet you haven't either.
But we should.
I'm going to take just our Federal budget and break it down into the following general categories for Fiscal 2013, a year for which we have the Federal Treasury Statement:
Social Security: $870 billion
Medicare and Medicaid (All): $1,113 billion
Children and Families (TANF, Energy, Children and Family Services, Adoption, etc): $50 billion
HUD (Rent, projects, operating funds, etc) + "Community Planning": $45 billion
SNAP/WIC/Etc (Food Stamps & "Free" School Lunches): $109 billion
Veterans Affairs: $143 billion, of which about $52 billion is medically-related. The rest is (mostly) pensions and readjustment benefits.
Ok, now let's add all this up, with one exception -- Military Pensions.
I get $2,239 billion, or $2.2 trillion dollars, out of a total as spent of $4.058 trillion -- roughly 54%.
Note that the deficit was $680 billion, or one third of that spending.
So let's just take our $2,239 billion and see what we could do with it, assuming we didn't have these programs at all. In other words, let's make a few assumptions:
- Families in the lowest quintile of income (under $27,794) pay an effective tax rate of zero. That is, their income (all sources, including benefit checks from the government) is all theirs to spend.
- Families in the second quintile of income ($49,788) pay few taxes, with an effective rate under 20%. That is, if we remove the taxes the gross amount they'd have to "make" would rise by about $10,000 (what they pay in taxes.)
- There are an average of 3.12 persons per family. Since the US population is approximately 330 million, there are approximately 100 million family units ranging from a single person to five (where the bell curve flattens to near-zero) persons. As these are quintiles this happens to divide out nicely; there are approximately 20 million families in each quintile.
Ok, so we're going to do this instead of the programs we have now:
- We're going to enforce the Sherman and Clayton Acts vigorously against all in the medical field. This will result in the cost of medical care plummeting by approximately 80%. Doubt me? Go price procedures and drugs in Japan, India and other nations where you can get first world, cash care. Or, for that matter, price a procedure at The Surgery Center of Oklahoma.
- We're going to delete all of these programs and benefits outlined above.
- For the 20 million family units in the second quintile, we're going to give each a tax credit amounting to the 1/5th of the ratable difference between their family income and the $49,788 threshold. There is an approximately $22,000 range in this quintile so the average household will receive $2,000. That will cost $40 billion a year.
- For the 40 million family units in the first and second quintile we're going to give each a further refundable tax credit amounting to 100% of the funds necessary to reach the 1st quintile threshold (average for the first quintile is $14,000 @ 20 million people) plus, for those under $40,000, another $5,000. This will cost (20 million * 14,000) + (35 million * 5,000) or $455 billion more a year.
Note that these two direct refundable tax credit disbursements result in nobody having a family income of less than approximately $32,000 after tax. We spent $495 billion doing it.
Bluntly: If we do this there are no more poor citizens in America unless you care to argue that a $32,000 household income is "poor." If you do then I'll preempt your statement by telling you that you're stupid and ought to go find a high building and jump, you fucker.
End of discussion.
We started with $2,239 billion that we whacked out of the budget and have spent $495 billion of that eliminating, on a permanent basis, poverty in America.
We have left $1,744 billion each and every year. We will not run a deficit ($680 billion) any more, and in fact will run a $400 billion surplus on purpose to start paying down the debt. We now have $764 billion left each and every year.
That $764 billion is roughly 40% of the remaining federal budget. We therefore will cut all taxes, income FICA, Medicare, everything -- by 30% so as to bring receipts in line with actual spending.
The result of this is:
- A balanced Federal Budget right now and, over the space of a few decades, a zeroed Federal debt.
- I did not touch the military budget, nor any of the other departments.
- Those who are in the lowest quintile of American life suddenly and permanently have a reasonably middle-class lifestyle. There is no longer any argument over whether someone will starve irrespective of their economic circumstance, other than by choice. There are no more poor citizens in America.
- I have permanently stopped all fiscally-driven inflation, and thus destruction of purchasing power, since there are no longer deficits being run. In fact we now see purchasing power increases over time of about 2.3% annually.
- Those who are in the second quintile will see their after tax income effectively rise to their pre-tax income.
- And everyone, from poor on up, will see a 30% reduction in all federal taxes and fees.
Note that I left a hell of a lot of Socialism in the Federal Government due to handing out money to the lowest two quintiles. However, I got rid of all of the government waste and corruption at once in social programs by doing it this way, and as a result what has happened is that the people in the lower economic strata got all the money instead of a quarter of it with the various scam artists in and around the government stealing the rest.
I also broke the Medical Monopolies -- everyone can now afford to pay cash for their medical care.
And, I did it while cutting taxes across-the-board by 30% while not only balancing the budget immediately, not in 10 or 20 years in some phantasm of lies and fraud, but also while putting $400 billion a year toward retiring the debt.
We're not short on money in this country, nor on taxation.
We're short on integrity and people who argue otherwise are liars.
Argue with my math; if I missed something or made an error, show me where.
PS: Before the criticism commences, let me point out that I'm well-aware of adverse selection and the arguments that can be raised in support of it, including the fact that were we to do this we might end up with a lot of people in that first quintile by choice! After all, $32,000 as a guaranteed household income is pretty good for doing nothing!