Federal Budget Deficit Reduction: A 12 Step Program

Like the rest of you, I’m tired of all the Washington posturing and political wrangling.  It’s time our elected officials put country before party or their own interests.  To that end, I offer the following 12 step program as a starting point for dealing with the bloated federal budget:

  1. Means test federal subsidy recipients, especially companies and industries, including farms; maintain subsidies to low income and vital industry recipients that need it.  Limit farm subsidies to small, family farms.
  2. Means test Social Security and Medicare recipients; maintain payments to people with below mean U.S. income, sliding scale the rest.  High income retirees and those with significant assets do not get Social Security and must pay for Medicare coverage.
  3. Mandate that all Internet purchases include the payment of state and local sales taxes; make credit card companies responsible for setting up and administering the system.  This channels more money to the states who will rely less on the federal government for revenue.
  4. Channel civil court punitive damage awards to state and federal governments, not to the plaintiff.  These penalties are levied on behalf of the people and should benefit the people.
  5. Increase taxes on consumables – especially on premium grades of gasoline, tobacco, gambling, coal and oil energy production, alcohol, and luxury items like diamond jewelry and yachts
  6. Refinance the national debt by encouraging all Americans to hold national debt obligations like savings bonds, and reduce as much as possible our foreign debt holders.  We used to encourage people to buy savings bonds as part of a payroll deduction plan and we need to go back to that effort.
  7. Eliminate the futures markets and prohibit the speculative trading of future commodity contracts.
  8. Get market prices for all federal assets, from mining on public lands to broadcasting airwaves.  Market developable property owned by the government and not otherwise needed or preserved, especially beachfront/waterfront and downtown locations.  Finally, convert the Interstate system to toll roads.
  9. Expand the federal pharmaceutical R&D program and earn royalties in perpetuity for each discovery paid for all or in part with federal funds.
  10. Convert the military industrial complex into the world’s largest science based R&D and production/manufacturing engine for everything from energy and transportation to food production and greenhouse gas reduction.
  11. Hasten the transition to a cashless economy.  This will generate billions in currently uncollected taxes (and from the huge underground economy), and it potentially eliminates the U.S. Mint and the costs of minting currency.  Also place a one cent tax on every electronic transaction (paid for by banks and ISO/Gateways, not merchants or consumers).  Critics will cry Big Brother, but we need to be able to control our currency better.
  12. Mandate that when people (or their spouses if they are married) die, the first thing their estate does is pay off their per capita share(s) of the national debt.
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