What Would You Give Up for the Deficit?

Thursday, November 11, 2010 - 11:06 AM

US President Barack Obama speaks alongside Erskine Bowles and Sen.Alan Simpson, co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform US President Barack Obama speaks alongside Erskine Bowles (L) and Sen.Alan Simpson, co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, earlier this year (Getty Images)

One of the hardest things for a politician to do is to ask people to give up benefits or pay more in taxes. Which is why President Obama appointed a bipartisan commission last February to come up with ideas to deal with the ever-ballooning deficit. Now the panel is releasing its suggestions and the complaints are already coming in.

The panel recommends cutting the tax deduction for mortgage interest payments. It suggests reducing some social security benefits and raising the retirement age. There's also a 15-cents-a-gallon increase in the federal gasoline tax, but a proposal to consolidate other taxes.

From the sounds of it, everyone will be affected by the sacrifices proposed.

We're asking you, What would you be willing to give up to help the government save money?

The plan would slash nearly $4 trillion from the projected deficits through 2020 and a final package is due by December 1.


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Comments [16]

Pat from Boston, MA, USA

If the government was fiscally responsible, it might deserve the willingness of its citizens to "give it up" for what government hasn't already "stolen" through taxes.

But when the substance of government is lifetime pay for government officials regardless of how long they have been in office, the amount required is undeserving of the term, government expenses, and falls into the category of unjust rewards for having served. In an era of its beginnings, government officials felt honored to serve, and did so voluntarily, and without pay. That system has ballooned into Congress's very own administrative fraud upon the American people as to justify taxes for the fraud, requring more and more to satisfy the lust for income at the expense of the American people.

If that is the current state of affairs in a system that passes for government but is anything but, why should Ameircans be willing to give up anything for government?

Nov. 19 2010 10:29 AM
Robert from Upper-Westside, NYC

I can line without daily postal delivery. Once a week is enough. It's only junk mail. I pay all my bills, communicate with my freinds and loved ones, and read all my news online.

Nov. 12 2010 09:07 AM
brian from park slope from Park slope Brooklyn

I would be willing to give up federal funding of NPR. Go out and raise your own money, you sponging hacks.

Nov. 12 2010 08:20 AM
Aaron from Brooklyn

I would sacrifice some rich folks' tax money. They need to pay more.

Nov. 12 2010 08:10 AM
kniterati from New Hampshire

I live in NH without central heat or hot water having given up oil at home. I am tax delinquent but I think, if we can't agree to cancel the tax cuts for the wealthiest, we should cancel them for every one. The deficit could use the offset.

Nov. 12 2010 07:02 AM
Daniel Thiel, via Facebook

Why is the defense department budget systematically left out of these discussions?

Nov. 11 2010 07:43 PM

Ok... It'll be tough to swallow, but I think I can live without the $11.4 billion Joint Strike Fighter.

Nov. 11 2010 06:05 PM
Jefferson from Connecticut

Anything that is asked of me... fewer services, longer waits, lower expectations, more taxes as necessary... provided the whole plan is laid out for all to see, and that all are asked to share proportionately in fixing the longer term problem. The only people who are really going to be happy about what we do are the future generations, who will have the benefit of not having the mess kicked down the road for them to fix. Somewhere back there, courageous forebears pledged their "lives, fortunes, sacred honor." Now it's our turn to do something comparable.

Nov. 11 2010 05:37 PM
Susan from Hoboken, NJ

I would pay more taxes if, for one moment, I believed that it would help someone less fortunate than I am. However, I'm sure Congress would find a way to create more loopholes for the rich, leaving them with more money in their pockets and everyone else with less. We should put a moratorium on ALL earmark spending, let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest expire and audit every dollar of state and federal spending. Hire out-of-work accountants to do it.

Nov. 11 2010 02:10 PM
By text from Oklahoma City, Okla.

Legalizing marijuana and tax it like cigarettes.

Nov. 11 2010 12:25 PM
By text from John Manrique, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Unlimited terms for my Representative and Senator. If terms limits were enacted for Congress then we might see tough cuts made since the primary objective in DC would no longer be the partisan politics of getting re-elected.

Nov. 11 2010 12:24 PM
Allan -- by text from Woonsocket, RI

Paying taxes: If government has less money they will spend less.

Nov. 11 2010 12:17 PM
By text from Michigan

They should let the bush tax cuts expire and impose a 5 percent national sales tax to generate revenue. Also cut defense budget by 50 percent. No more pensions for politicians and judges. Federal pay freeze for five years. Raise federal retirement age to 65. Reduce foreign aid and increase immigration fees. Reduce social security benefits for wealthy.

Nov. 11 2010 12:17 PM
Kamal Al'adil, -- by text from Alpharetta, Ga.

Not one thing, because if the Federal Reserve is design to create money that means either the amount created isn't enough or too many politicians or governmental agencies request more than they should to incorporate into the communities. Americans, especially African Americans really shouldn't give up anything – especially Afro Americans. We deserve a fair chance which we have been given since the beginning of the 21st century. Athough giving something up towards a bias government and discriminating parties we really need more supportive socialist leaders that will fight verbally for the rights of Americans and not allow the government to bully us around... They are enabling Americans to become totally reliant on welfare or government assistance programs and jobs. Government doesn't need Americans’ help. They just need to create, conserve, comply, and assist. Then they will be able to save.

Nov. 11 2010 12:17 PM
By text from Pontiac, Mich.

I'm OK with increasing the retirement age. Will my employer feel the same way? With defaults as high as they are, eliminating deductions is moot.

Nov. 11 2010 12:16 PM
By text from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Nothing. As a middle class American we can do the following to help ourselves: End war in Afghanistan End defense boondoggles Reject GOP proposal that gives tax breaks to most wealthy Change tax code so that capital gains are taxed as income The question is flawed as you presuppose the middle class caused the problem: tax cuts during a war with an insane GOP spending binge.

Nov. 11 2010 12:16 PM

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