Gormogon Operative JS sends a missive from Guadalajara tattooed on the back of an MS-13 underling. JS asks ‘Puter (and the other Gormogons — hint, hint) to opine as to what budget cuts he recommends. Here goes.
First, let’s all take notice of the fact that President Obama’s budget proposal actually spends 7% more this year than last. So, despite all the discussion of “draconian cuts,” President Obama is spreading 7% more wealth than last year, just not to the same places. We could start by simply not spending 7% more next year, and we’d be off to a good start. It would not be draconian to force everyone to go without a raise/benefit increase for one year. Hundreds of thousands of private sector workers have done it for a couple of years now. ‘Puter would recommend returning to a 2008 budget baseline, but that’s not going to happen. ‘Puter believes simply stating “why would we spend more this year than last when we’re in debt up to our eyeballs and debt financing day to day operations” is a compelling argument.
Second, 40% of the budget is spent on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. An additional 24% is spent on the military. Don’t take ‘Puter’s word, just look at the nifty pie chart cooked up by bleeding heart and noted Constitutional scholar Ezra Klein.
‘Puter would, for Social Security, raise the retirement age for everyone under 50 to 70, today, and index increases/decreases to average life expectancy changes. No grandfathering permitted. Folks working in physically demanding jobs would have to prove up disability to get benefits earlier. For folks currently on Social Security, ‘Puter would phase in indexing COLAs to prices, not wages. If the intent of Social Security is to prevent old folks from starving on the streets, it makes far more sense to index for prices actually paid than to wages many have not earned in decades. ‘Puter would also means test benefits, so the wealthy get less, but not below a minimum, as they have paid in during their working careers.
For Medicaid, ‘Puter would do two things. First, ‘Puter would subsidize private catastrophic insurance policies for all Americans, with a sliding subsidy based on income. For the poorest, it’s free. For the richest, it may run the full cost. Private insurers, not governments, would set the rates, but government could dictate the coverage. For example, treatment for accidents and hospitalization would be covered, doctor’s checkups would not. For the indigent, ‘Puter would set up HSAs to be drawn upon to cover day to day medical needs. Second, ‘Puter would time limit Medicaid availability, similar to the welfare sunsets. Government dependency (read: stealing from your neighbors) is not a viable lifestyle option.
For Medicare, ‘Puter would raise the eligibility age to 70, and tie annual increases/decreases to average life expectancy rates. Further, ‘Puter would means test it, so that richer people pay more, but still get some benefit no matter how well off, as they have paid their entire working lives for it.
Third, ‘Puter would turn the budget process on its head. It would require two structural changes. First, the change. ‘Puter would have two year budgets, staggered with election years. This would hopefully take some of the politics out of the budget and encourage longer term planning.
Next, ‘Puter would mandate the IRS, confirmed by the OMB and CBO both, project the next budget cycle’s tax revenues. Congress could pass a budget not to exceed that average of the numbers provided on a simple majority. If Congress believed that additional debt financing of America’s needs was required, it could do so on a separate roll call 60% majority vote. Raising taxes could still be done on a majority roll call vote as now, but any new taxes automatically sunset in five years, unless renewed by Congress.
This proposal has advantages. Spending would be curtailed by the unwillingness of Congress generally to go on record supporting debt or taxes. If tax revenue increases, we can spend more. If it decreases, inertia would dictate spending less. True needs would continue to be addressed, as Congress could debt finance (with the higher passage hurdle) or equity (tax) finance, as limited by the sunset provision.
That’s ‘Puter’s back of the envelope solution. What’s yours?
Always right, unless he isn’t, the infallible Ghettoputer F. X. Gormogons claims to be an in-law of the Volgi, although no one really believes this.
’Puter carefully follows economic and financial trends, legal affairs, and serves as the Gormogons’ financial and legal advisor. He successfully defended us against a lawsuit from a liquor distributor worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid deliveries of bootleg shandies.
The Geep has an IQ so high it is untestable and attempts to measure it have resulted in dangerously unstable results as well as injuries to researchers. Coincidentally, he publishes intelligence tests as a side gig.
His sarcasm is so highly developed it borders on the psychic, and he is often able to insult a person even before meeting them. ’Puter enjoys hunting small game with 000 slugs and punt guns, correcting homilies in real time at Mass, and undermining unions. ’Puter likes to wear a hockey mask and carry an axe into public campgrounds, where he bursts into people’s tents and screams. As you might expect, he has been shot several times but remains completely undeterred.
He assures us that his obsessive fawning over news stories involving women teachers sleeping with young students is not Freudian in any way, although he admits something similar once happened to him. Uniquely, ’Puter is unable to speak, read, or write Russian, but he is able to sing it fluently.
Geep joined the order in the mid-1980s. He arrived at the Castle door with dozens of steamer trunks and an inarticulate hissing creature of astonishingly low intelligence he calls “Sleestak.” Ghettoputer appears to make his wishes known to Sleestak, although no one is sure whether this is the result of complex sign language, expert body posture reading, or simply beating Sleestak with a rubber mallet.
‘Puter suggests the Czar suck it.