Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The answer on fiscal cliff: Just cut spending

Forbes' Doug Bandow has the answer on how to deal with the fiscal cliff: Just cut spending.
Uncle Sam is ever profligate and irresponsible. Washington wastes money with wild abandon. The federal government redistributes wealth to any group with a letterhead and lobbyist. Surely Washington should curb its expensive tastes before it seizes more of people’s earnings.

Moreover, the spending crisis is too big to solve by taxing the "rich," whoever they are. Former congressmen Chris Cox and Bill Archer warn: "When the accrued expenses of the government’s entitlement programs are counted, it becomes clear that to collect enough tax revenue just to avoid going deeper into debt would require over $8 trillion in tax collections annually. That is the total of the average annual accrued liabilities of just the two largest entitlement programs, plus the annual cash deficit." In contrast, the total adjusted gross income of those earning more than $66,000 a year was $5.1 trillion and net corporate income was $1.6 trillion. Confiscate it all and there still isn't enough to pay the annual increase. And you could only steal the money once, since people wouldn't keep working if government left them with nothing.

Unfortunately, the near-term budget problem pales compared to the longer-term challenge. The national debt is $16.3 trillion, more than the annual GDP. Toss in all current unfunded federal liabilities and the number is $222 trillion, according to economist Laurence Kotlikoff.

Uncle Sam just can’t help himself. The only answer is to cut spending.
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