Experts Evaluate Your Budget Cuts

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Copies of the administrations 2012 Budget proposal at the Senate Budget Committee on February14, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty)

We have been talking all week about the battle lines being drawn in Washington over the 2012 federal budget proposal. So we asked you how you’d fix the budget. We received a huge response from listeners and we’ve picked a few suggestions to consider on air this morning. David Walker, U.S. Comptroller General from 1998 to 2008 explores the economic viability of your suggestions and Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich gives us the chances on whether any of our ideas would pass in Congress.

Phil from Boston, MA says:

Make 70 the age at which social security kicks in for retirees and I would remove the upper bound on income subject to social security tax."

Michael from San Antonio wrote on our website:

Cut defense. I am military and I can say confidently that we need to make BIG cuts in defense. Not in salary (we all know that enlisted members of the military are not overpaid) but in number of service members and superfluous programs. We need to weed out the underperformers that just pick up their pay checks....Oh and corvette stunt driving school for Navy SEALS. Sorry guys.


David Walker

Produced by:

Jen Poyant and Todd Zwillich

Comments [10]

Katie from Central NY state

I would not cut elected officals salaries, they really do not make that much for what they are expected to do. With that in mind, a lot of half decent officials who want to be public servants would quit running for office and we would get etiher the lowest common denominator or just wealthy corporate giants out to promote the agenda of their soc-eco level who surely do not know how the rest of us live.

I think the budget cut suggestions are smart. Playing the game, Dems now cannot be accused of spending so much. And it opens the debate: what do we really want as a society.

I am concerned however that military has taken little to no real hits.

Feb. 18 2011 06:06 AM

First and foremost, cut the salaries, and benefits ( all insurances, travel expenses, etc.) that ALL of the politicians in the House, and the Senate receive from OUR tax dollars. they get paid A salary. They should have to take care of their own needs out of the salary they receive. I certainly HAVE TO. They don't really serve us anyway. I mean seriously how do they think they can continue to get away with being "elected by the people", become millionaires, and then turn a blind eye as to where their "bread & butter" comes from. Their lobbyists cronies, etc. can take care of them out in the open as they do now under the table. Would save quite a bit.
Next, seriously cut back on the Defense bubget .
And I agree with Mike C. from Orlando, Fl.
I too am in favor of a "flat tax".

Feb. 17 2011 09:49 PM

All the budget cuts that have been mentioned so far are simply "nickels and dimes" like cutting salaries of essential government employees, NPR, etc. Cutting and closing the numerous military bases in foreign countries would save real money. I still do not know why we need bases in Germany 60 years after WWII, and all over the rest of the world. We have a floating bases on the aircraft carriers in each ocean that can do the job and long range missles and satellites. We do not need to be the world's policemen and the world does not want us to be their policeman. No other country spends money on military bases around the world, and neither should the US. Without the bases we will have money for rebuilding our own country.

Feb. 17 2011 02:52 PM
Esteban de la Ossa from Miami, fl

here's a novel idea: put the question 2 the voters. do we raise taxes or do we cut programs? let the american people decide what their priorities really are. then politicians can take the lead from the voters and actually do their job, which is answering to the will of the people. we cannot have everything and pay for nothing. this needs to be on a referendum. americans need to take the lead not the politicians.

Feb. 17 2011 09:44 AM
David from Detroit, MI

What Marilyn from Miami Beach said. Also, cut their salaries by 5% every year until they solve the jobless crisis that the wall st. welfare swindle caused. I've taken between 5 & 10 % pay cut and work more for less, time for them to do the same. STOP CUTTING PROGRAMS FOR THE POOR AND TARGET THE RICH MORE! Cut out the corporate welfare, or Washington may find itself filled with twitter fueled unemployed protesters!

Feb. 17 2011 09:26 AM
Nick from Miami

End the War on Drugs and legalize. Free all nonviolent drug offenders ($60-200,000 per incarcerated person x 500,000 persons), roll up all enforcement operations ($44B/year), and tax all drug transactions, (~$40B/year).

Bang! At least $100B/year savings, *forever*, more than enough to pay for drug treatment for the most dedicated users. (A bargain at $7,500/person, tops.)

Feb. 17 2011 09:26 AM
Steve from Charleston, SC

Deny medicare/medicaid and VA health benefits for smokers.

Feb. 17 2011 09:22 AM
Marilyn from Miami Beach

Cut the pensions and health care benefits of elected officials! Let them live like the rest of us.

Feb. 17 2011 09:17 AM

First, SS and Medicare are the biggest long term sources of debt.

I think Social Security should immediately begin indexing the age of collection upward at 1 year up for every 2 years until the number is close to the average lifespan again. (Around 78-80 by the time it gets there.) Also, remove the cap from wages/earnings that are subject to that tax.

Medicare is unsustainable and unless Obamacare (or the like) can replace it (and VA and Medicaid), then it should be immediately cut by 10% and then be frozen at those values until it becomes fiscally sane.

Defense could see a 5-10% cut and also then be frozen until the debt (not just the deficit for any year) is paid off. Allow the DoD to control what it spends money on with the exception of salaries which could still have congressional oversight.

Once you've paid off the DEBT, then you'd have some money to make the liberals happy and some money left to cut and make the conservatives happy.

Feb. 17 2011 08:36 AM
Mike Camardese from Orlando, Fl

Sen. Kent Conrad (D - SD) had a great take on Social Security anf Medicare on Talk of The Nation on 2/16/11. He said that the committee that he was on determined that SS and Medicare do not contribute to the deficit and should be left out of the equation but they should raise the retirement age at which it takes effect. The SS Administration could be streamlined as well as most other government agencies. I would cut the Defense Department significantly. I work for the DoD and I see a huge amount of excess. I would also go for a flat tax.

Feb. 17 2011 07:08 AM

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