My first suggestion would be to blanket freeze ALL Federal disbursements, including ALL Social Security and Public Assistance spending, at 2010 levels. No increases in per capita spending for anything unless human life is directly threatened. Then maintain that level of spending until the tax base catches up and exceeds it slightly.
Next would be a 10% force reduction in ALL Federal employment categories exclusive of Military and Law Enforcement. This could be accomplished by attrition and may take some time.
Next would be a 2% - 5% payroll reduction through salary reduction for ALL Federal employees receiving more than $75,000.00 annually.
There seems to have been some talk about increasing the retirement age. This sounds good on the face of it, but taking forty years to accomplish seems a little pointless. I would propose, instead, that the retirement age start being adjusted immediately.
Those who are currently within two years of retirement remain on schedule. 64 and above, retirement age remains stable.
Those who are currently more than two years from retirement need to wait an extra year. 62-63, retirement age becomes 66.
More than four years from retirement currently wait an additional extra year. 60-61, retirement age becomes 67.
More than six years from retirement currently wait another additional year. 58-59, retirement age becomes 68.
Eight years from retirement currently, add another year. 56-57, retirement age becomes 69.
Those who are currently ten years or more from retirement age would then become eligible for retirement at 70 years of age. 55 years of age and under, retirement age becomes 70.
Also require that ALL Federal employees contribute at least ten percent of their salary to their own retirement account and contribute significantly, at least fifty percent of the cost, to their healthcare insurance and include these as part of their total compensation package. Then limit maximum retirement disbursement to about 100% of the final annual salary earned by the retiree plus paid healthcare. Persons who are employed by the Federal Government are PUBLIC EMPLOYEES, they are supposed to work FOR the Citizens of the United States of America; their compensation should be directly dependent upon the ABILITY of the U.S. Taxpayer to support them; PUBLIC SERVANTS should not be allowed to demand more when our Nation is already so deeply in debt just because they want it.
Next would be to mandate Employment Eligibility Verification, E-Verify, for all Public AND Private sector employers. Back this up with very strict enforcement and penalties stiff enough to fund the program directly and help to defray the costs associated with unemployment and joblessness. There are about 15 Million+ U.S. Citizens who are out of work but want employment. There are also about 12-20 Million+ Undocumented Foreign Nationals living and working illegally inside the United States. What would be the effect if those Undocumented Foreign Nationals were unable to seek or find employment within the United States? At least a third of those U.S. Citizens who now want work but cannot find it should be able to find jobs. This would remove them from the rolls of tax consumers and create Taxpayers thus broadening the Tax Base. Deny all non-emergency public assistance funds to Undocumented Foreign Nationals who are within the United States illegally and then limit access to any emergency funding to the control and stabilization of the immediate life threatening circumstance only.
Please note that this is not an immigration policy, it just acknowledges that only those who are U.S. Citizens, Natural or Naturalized, Documented Foreign Nationals legally within the United States, and Legal Resident Aliens are entitled to recognized legal status within the United States of America.
Finally, we must recognize that energy is needed to do things. Limiting access to that energy simply limits productivity. The United States could become energy independent if we really wanted to. Oil, Coal, and Natural gas are the current standards, and yes they are dirty. We have the Natural Reserves here inside the United States to allow ourselves to become energy independent if we would only make use of them. Instead, we artificially limit the supply and thus create an inflated market while also retarding the ability of that market to produce. Unfettering the energy producers here inside the United States while requiring even stricter standards would probably result in more overall productivity. If I could produce twice as much product but had to spend 25% of my profits to make it non-polluting, I would still see a 50% net increase in productivity while rendering a cleaner product.
And then there is still Nuclear. If we were to concentrate on short-term containment of waste, 50 to 100 years, while allowing the advancement of the science, we could probably find better means of producing Nuclear power while improving the containment issues as well in the mean time.
Again, improving energy access could only act as a shot in the arm for our economy. Mining those resources here at home would also create an additional source of revenue as much of the land I am referring to is currently Federally administered, The U.S. Government could administer leasing out of the land for exploitation and then use the fees and royalties to offset Federal expenses and reduce the National Debt.
I have hit on only four major topics here, the cost of the Federal Government to carry out day to day operations, the cost of entitlements, the cost of supporting Undocumented Foreign Nationals who have no right to be within the United States and their impact on our domestic jobs market, and energy issues. I honestly believe that these factors have a significant impact on the continuing fiscal viability of the United States of America.
A Forty-Year Plan is next to useless, especially when it seems to only amount to about $100B per year. The United States needs swift and decisive action. Yes, we must proceed with caution, but inaction and over cautious slowness of action will be worse. The DEBT CRISIS is NOW; we do not have a luxury of time to face this crisis. So far as I can tell, the plans circulated so far barely even address a portion of the current interest on our current National Debt.
Currently, our Federal Government is behaving like a very spoiled BRAT who goes out and purchases something they know they cannot afford then demands more money in order to pay for it, regardless of whether that money is available or not.
That BRAT needs to be spanked!
Douglas J. Howard