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After housing, what’s your highest monthly bill?

Response Percent Votes
26% 257
Car payment
19% 194
18% 185
Credit card
12% 119
College loan
8% 86
Other (please specify in comments)
7% 70
Entertainment (cable, movie subscriptions)
3% 39
Cell phone
2% 29
Total 979


JustNoticed 5 years, 1 month ago

Jesus. Paying for Jesus is real expensive.

gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 1 month ago

So you'd kill your family if jesus told you to do so?

Sean Livingstone 5 years, 1 month ago

I'd say pastors and not jesus... the money i give to the church is for them, not jesus.. :)

appleaday 5 years, 1 month ago

The God I know isn't short of cash. . . to quote Bono.

Terry Sexton 5 years, 1 month ago

We spend the next most money on food.
I'm thinkin' pork chops tomorrow & crockpot chicken on Thursday. Got a great recipe for baked chops & apples. Need to change it up on the yardbird, though. Maybe go with barbecue sauce instead of broth this time.

labmonkey 5 years, 1 month ago

The largest expense before housing is taxes. I could have had our house paid off with what the government has taken from me in the last three years.

After housing, the biggest "expense" is putting a good chunk into savings... although that may not be considered an expense, it does take away from out disposable income.

labmonkey 5 years, 1 month ago

Good job, coupled with marrying well when it comes to spending money. My wife is damn cheap and insists we pay cash for everything. I agree with her, but I bet I would be felled by the temptation to finance new vehicles if she weren't around.

beatrice 5 years, 1 month ago

Yet taxes are lower now than they have been at any time in the past 60. Were you just refusing to pay them prior to the past three years?

labmonkey 5 years, 1 month ago

I started a job three years ago where I make significantly more than I previously did... plus we bought a house shortly thereafter. After you count income taxes, FICA, property taxes, and sales taxes, I bet that 40-50% of my hard earned money has gone to the government.

average 5 years, 1 month ago

You ought to calculate it for yourself. Take a married-couple household no kids at $80k (which is around the 75th percentile in Lawrence). Assuming standard deduction and no retirement deferments...

FICA 5.65% now - 7.65% when the holiday ends. Federal income tax: ~10.5% overall (on the top edge of the 15% bracket, but remember the standard deduction/exemption, plus the amount in the 10% bracket) State income tax: ~4.4% overall Property tax: All depends... but middle-of-road house in Lawrence should run $2500/yr? 3.1% Sales/gas/franchise taxes around 9% on, say, 3/4 of income (all but housing)? 6.8%

Am I missing anything major?

That's around 30%. But, with some retirement deferring, pre-tax medical expenses, etc, 25% is more common. My own household in roughly that range is below 20% now, but that's with a lot of saving.

Not saying that's good or bad. But, if you're paying 40% or more, you're in the upper 5% of income for the region and could probably use an accountant.

labmonkey 5 years, 1 month ago

I am at ~31% before sales taxes... so I stand by my original statement.

beatrice 5 years, 1 month ago

So lab, you got a better job that pays more. You could have kept the lower paying job, but no, you had to go and get a position with greater compensation. So really, it is all just your own fault. : )

Had you the better job before three years ago, you likely would have been paying more in past years than you are paying now. That was my point.

In this tough economy, you should count your blessings. Not saying you don't work hard or that the government should be taking (spending) as much as they do, just that there are a lot of people who wish they were in your position.

gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 1 month ago

FTW, but it's fun to see that Beatrice doesn't get it.

beatrice 5 years, 1 month ago

How do I not get it? Are you saying taxes are higher now than they have been in the past 60 years? Please explain.

pace 5 years, 1 month ago

Glock doesn't usually respond to the topic, he is more into denigration of person. Beatrice, you get it and you are right. Taxes are low, the Bush tax cuts are ballooning the deficit. The long term loopholes, the special interest .They are not creating jobs, they are creating bloated billionaires. I don't mind, not my business if the rich bros buy a boat or fancy home. I mind when they buy congress and senators. It is destroying the heart of this country.

DustyAcres 5 years, 1 month ago

House is paid for. Biggest bill every month is health insurance. But Obamacare is going to change that, right?

pace 5 years, 1 month ago

If the teas and health industry machine don't destroy this country fighting the health care reform bill. So many lies, must cost a bundle, all those ad. Someone has money to burn and it is not working families.

imnoangel325 5 years, 1 month ago

Well, you are not supporting this single mom of 3...I do just fine without "your" help and anyone else"s for that matter....If only we could get the court system to enforce child support orders...

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 1 month ago

I've heard this a few times:

"The best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother."

jhawkinsf 5 years, 1 month ago

My child. That little one is an expensive bugger. Best money I ever spent.

kernal 5 years, 1 month ago

I'm thinking about going on the "Air" diet myself. My gut tells me food may cost more than some mortgage payments for a family of four within the next two years.

imastinker 5 years, 1 month ago

Let's see - $375/month for food for a family of 6.

Gas and electric average around $200. Internet and Phone are about $85. Water, sewer, and trash are about $100. No cable, cars are paid for, no credit card bills, no student loans. Utilities win, but just barely.

I'm betting most people spend more on food than we do.

average 5 years, 1 month ago

Most people don't talk much about their personal finances. The nation would be better if we had more idea where we fit compared to other families (and not just a mean/median, but looking at dozens of open case studies in our income bracket).

Two of us, basic '50s house:

$175 average on groceries, plus eating out approx once/wk each.

Gas/electric balance out to ~$100 a month. That's with less A/C than most people plus some woodstove heating (maybe 30% of our heat from scavenged wood). City trash/water/sewer $50 Internet and VoIP phone $70 no paid-TV service, Netflix, or much movie habit

Cells: $20/month for two prepaid ghettofones that neither of us use much, but it's nice to have on occasion.

No car payment. ~$100-120 in gas.

Student loans: $250. I could easily pay them off today, but at 4% fixed interest (effectively less than that with the interest being deductible), putting it in retirement funds isn't a horrible gamble at all.

average 5 years, 1 month ago

Oh, yeah, and taxes. The biggie.

Prop - $165 FICA - $350/month (will go up to $470 when/if the 'holiday' expires) Federal income tax - $133/month Kansas income tax - $95/month Sales/gas/franchise/etc - ~$125

1029 5 years, 1 month ago

Housing is actually number 2 for me. My monthly donation to Family Radio is number 1. And meth is number 3.

beatrice 5 years, 1 month ago

At least you didn't say meth and ammo.

richfree 5 years, 1 month ago

Health care is far and away in first place. easily outrunning housing and food, combined. Try being disabled in the state of Kansas... you learn to shift gears, live on less, do what it takes to maintain a quality life. No maximums here, lotsa minimums and enjoying it !

Charlie Bannister 5 years, 1 month ago

Right on STAIN. House payment is $1048 and health insurance is $758. Two biggest expenses we have. I still work and my wife WAS retired for 3 years, but had to send her back to work for the express purpose of paying health premium every month. Still, it is way better doing that than having to live under the soon to be repealed (can't come soon enough) Obummer Care.

puddleglum 5 years, 1 month ago

even if the tranny is hot? like, really hot, and pretty much looks just like a hot girl?

puddleglum 5 years, 1 month ago

I can tell you what the most annoying cost is by far:

water bill

water used $8/mo

"sewer charges" $35/mo

yeah yeah, I know how the average dec jan feb uagae and 'develop' a static usage which magically correlates into a static charge for the sewer water.....fact is, it is way too much. The most unevenly balanced 'rate' ever. Maybe I will run for city commission and make this my platform: lower water bills, vote for me.

gccs14r 5 years, 1 month ago

I was just looking at that on Monday. $6 in actual water usage in September (900 gallons) and the rest is fixed costs. I'm glad they haven't broken ground on the new sewer plant yet.

George Lippencott 5 years, 1 month ago

Our highest single expense is taxes at all levels followed by housing and medical costs. I note taxes were not a choice? Does that reflect somehting?

beatrice 5 years, 1 month ago

Taxes are part of the cost of being a member of this society we call America. It isn't actually a "bill" you pay each month. Perhaps this is why it isn't a choice.

George Lippencott 5 years, 1 month ago

Wow Bea, do you really believe that?? The cost of being part of America seems to vary widely. I guess that we just owe more because we worked harder - or not.

Maybe what we have was just a matter of luck. Do you believe that Bea? Everything is luck and nobody earns what they make?

gccs14r 5 years, 1 month ago

People who are in the upper income brackets receive more benefit from living in a functional society than do those who actually make a society functional.

George Lippencott 5 years, 1 month ago

Exactly how is that so or does it just justify taking from those making little more than you.

gccs14r 5 years, 1 month ago

I think Elizabeth Warren put it better than I could. Let's just say that you need and want political and economic stability and a healthy and well-educated workforce available to keep a manufacturing plant (or anything else) running. Those things cost money, and the people reaping the lion's share of the benefits should pay for them.

imastinker 5 years, 1 month ago

If what you say is true, please explain why companies are taking jobs overseas.

imastinker 5 years, 1 month ago

How could it be greed? You say that companies need the stability and an educated workforce in order to operate. If that was the case they wouldn't be operating in countries without those things where taxes are lower.

Maybe they're stupid, but many of them seem to be making money. that's more than our government can claim.

gccs14r 5 years, 1 month ago

"You say that companies need the stability and an educated workforce in order to operate. If that was the case they wouldn't be operating in countries without those things where taxes are lower. "

Both China and India are politically stable (more or less) and have educated workers available.

beatrice 5 years, 1 month ago

George, I truly have no idea what you are referring to. Where did I say anything about "luck"? I said simply that we, as Americans, pay taxes. For most, it is taken from paychecks and isn't a "bill" for which you need to write a check to pay. Even people who work for themselves tend to pay quarterly, not every month. Just saying taxes aren't a "bill" in the traditional sense of the word, so yes, I believe this to be true. You are the one making it about some paying more or some paying less. Even then, Americans pay taxes. A simple statement. Not sure why that would warrant a double ?? from you.

doggymom 5 years, 1 month ago

Medical: insurance, medicine, copays, etc.

pace 5 years, 1 month ago

I admit, electronic joys have too big a bite. Cable tv, computer, phones, I love them, We actually eat pretty cheap, lots from scratch, not a bunch of junk, a lot of recycled purchases, Like the SA, DAV, and dumpster. Shoes are usually new. We don't drink alcohol, smoke or eat packaged or fast food. Sometimes I buy new books, first editions signed, is the way I roll. I don't drive as much as I use to. The Drs and prescriptions are pretty high. One doctor got into doubling appointments. One to assess the need, the other to do something. I finally caught on and changed drs.

walkthehawk 5 years, 1 month ago

hellooo . . childcare!?! clearly the respondents to this particular poll don't have small children and two parents working. With two kids in full-day care, we pay more for childcare each month than we pay for our mortgage.

kernal 5 years, 1 month ago

In the past, we had employees with more than one child quit work because once they calculated the costs of daycare, transportation and a work wardrobe, they realized it was cheaper to stay at home. But, that was over seven years ago before health insurance costs really took off.

johnjhawk 5 years, 1 month ago

Taxes in a landslide.
24% between fed and state 15.3% FICA-I am self employed and pay both halfs 8% of my gross for personal property tax on my home and warehouse .44 cents tax per gallon of gas 9% sales tax.on the things I buy if I have any money left over Over 50% of earnings in total. I think I need a new accountant.

gccs14r 5 years, 1 month ago

Or you need to quit spending everything you make. My property tax is just over 2% of my gross.

imastinker 5 years, 1 month ago

You don't get it do you? Small businesses pay more taxes than people without other property. Mine was close to 8% also, and my house was only a fifth of that number. Many small businesses pay more in taxes than they make in profit. I do. So, if you raise my taxes by 10% you take 20% of my income.

gccs14r 5 years, 1 month ago

So you either pay the corporate rate on profits, or you give yourself a raise to increase the corporate tax deduction for wages and then pay more in FICA (unless you already max that out) and income tax on your personal return. Or you invest profits in R&D or expansion to lower your tax bill.

George Lippencott 5 years, 1 month ago

beatrice (anonymous) replies…gccs14r (anonymous) replies…

Ok, if I understand your argument the more we accumulate over a life time the more we owe the government - of course we have already paid more - much more..

Now gccs you referenced how the society supports business so we own more tax. OK I will let the other player argue the merits of that argument. But where did the society give us (and many many like us) anything that it did not give anyone else – our resources did not come from business?

You need to do better than that in arguing why we should be apparently the only ones where taxes are the largest component of our monthly budget responding to the survey. We are not in the 1%. We are not even in the 10%. We make more than the average but is that not supposed to happen to an engineer with a masters and a teacher with an ABT at the end of their run. They saved; they earned pensions (still available to anyone who works the job) and they earned SS based on 40 or so years of contributions – a program open to anyone. All as proscribed by law – law we had nothing to do with creating – we do not have the money to lobby.

Now Bea you apparently do not count taxes “because we do not send checks”. So exactly what is it that is taken away from us monthly to give (at least half) to others? is it not an expense like housing or transportation?? I suggest you look at the writings of just about any responsible financial advisor and you will find that taxes are in fact part of our monthly budget.

Why is it that you two and others on here can not acknowledge that people who make not a whole lot of money may be taxed significantly? Remember at $50 K you pay only a few $1000 in taxes (maybe 5%) while at $100K you pay close to 35%.

And yes I will never buy in to the argument that payroll taxes (the largest tax many of you pay) is a tax. It is a payment for an annuity in your old age and for medical insurance after 65. In both cases you will likely get back more than you pay.

If you want to go after the rich – feel free. Stop messing with those who are not rich by any responsible definition. All it reflects is at best ignorance of economics and at worst base greed.

I will acknowledge it could also be base political maculation. In order to support the vast social service network we have created there is a monstrous bill due. Even if you tax the rich a lot more we can not sustain it without cuts. The only way we can sustain it without those cuts is to raise taxes on the 50% of us who pay them (federal income tax which pays for most of the largess). Could it be that one of our political parties owes its base a continuation of that largess and will do anything to avoid their base either taking cuts or having to pay more for what they get? Now if this is the case there is no dialogue and there is no compromise. Those of us paying the bill are in it for our own survival.

Alceste 5 years, 1 month ago

Now let's not leave the gigantic bill our Nation pays to support a military, including VA, CHAMPUS and other entitlement programs which easily....most easily.....all eclipse the cost of this "....vast social service network...." you write about that is a joke when compared to Western Europe and even Canada......yeah.....them up front military expenses, along with the "hidden" one's make the "....vast social service network...." of the U.S.A. look like a drop in the bucket when compared to the cost of running a bankrupt, bogged down with simpletons military.....shrug

George Lippencott 5 years, 1 month ago

gccs14r (anonymous) replies… Or you need to quit spending everything you make. My property tax is just over 2% of my gross

Moderate Responds

I do not understand your comment. The post you are addressing identifies 80% of his tax load as not related to spending. Only sales tax is so related. How does not spending all he makes affect that assuming he in fact spends all he makes. I suspect there is some element of savings in there.

You have pretty much convinced me that you have not a clue as to what you write about. You are just a strong ideology and not worth the time or attention!

gccs14r 5 years, 1 month ago

You think I don't know what I'm talking about, yet you're not the target of proposed tax increases that you oppose. Unless you are one of the lucky few who are paid more than $250k per year in wages (a million every four years, in case that escapes you), in which case you're not going to garner much sympathy from those who aren't.

George Lippencott 5 years, 1 month ago

I have repeatedly advocated for tax increases on the top earners - to the pre-Reagan level. I have also argued that those increases will not even dent the due bill. At that point you and I and Bea part company. Compromise at that point means higher - much higher taxes on those who earn above $50K and less than $250K a year. The not very rich. I have never been able to get those of you arguing for both tax increases and cuts to put a cap on those tax increases! A fifty fifty split to address the due bill could raise my taxes by 40-60%. That is destructive.

purplesage 5 years, 1 month ago

Health insurance costs more than any other single thing in our budget - including the house + insurance and taxes. And it never pays anything. I am afraid to go without it.

George Lippencott 5 years, 1 month ago

gccs14r (anonymous) replies… You think I don't know what I'm talking about, yet you're not the target of proposed tax increases that you oppose. Moderate Responds I have repeatedly advocated for tax increases on the top earners - to the pre-Reagan level. I have also argued that those increases will not even dent the due bill. At that point you and I and Bea part company. Compromise at that point means higher - much higher taxes on those who earn above $50K and less than $250K a year. The not very rich. I have never been able to get those of you arguing for both tax increases and cuts to put a cap on those tax increases! A fifty fifty split to address the due bill could raise my taxes by 40-60%. That is destructive.

And yes, taxes are the largest part of our budget!!!

beatrice 5 years, 1 month ago

Oh my. George, I believe you have missed my point entirely.

I never said we shouldn't budget for taxes or that they aren't a concern and aren't a huge expense. Of course they are a huge expense and we absolutely should budget for them. Anyone looking just at their gross income and budgeting from that would be a complete fool to not consider the expense of taxes.

I'm just saying it isn't a "bill" in the way other bills are bills. It is a simple semantics issue.

I can decide to pay less on my mortgage by moving into a smaller home. I can pay less on my car bill by having a less expensive car. I have control over my own bills and how they effect my personal budget. I can't, however, choose my tax bill. It just is, and it is determined by the government -- the price we pay to be an American. (Yes, I know different people are paying at different levels.) Sure, I can take certain deductions to minimize the amount taken, but it is still determined by the government. Because of that, I don't see it as the same as the rest of my "bills," for which I must budget and pay each month. I was simply making a semantics issue, not a "taxes don't count" issue.

You have taken what I wrote to mean far more than I ever intended. You are making an argument where there isn't one.

George Lippencott 5 years, 1 month ago

Probably because I can never get you or others on here to define "how much is enough"!

The compromise you talk about if taken from the Current budget levels means (after taxing the rich at the pre-Reagan rates) that we have about 500 Billion of needed revenue. If we split that 50% cuts and 50% tax increases on those who pay taxes that would be a 25% increase on the taxes of those who do pay them (federal income taxes). That amounts to a tax increase of $5K per year on a family making $100K. That would take the governments tax take on such a family up to more than 40% of their income and when we acknowledge they must also pay payroll taxes it then runs at about 50%. That is too much!

So exactly how much do you want from whom or are you willing to acknowledge that we may have to cut more than we raise revenue. In fact we may have to limit the revenue raise to maybe $1K per year yielding cuts of about $400 billion (not in SS or Medicare as they are not the driver of our current account problem). I am using annualized figures and Mr. Obama has already found about $50 billion of that in Defense (our retirement and health care benefits).

beatrice 5 years, 1 month ago

We weren't talking about "what is enough." So enough already!

George_Braziller 5 years, 1 month ago

House is paid off. Health insurance policy is usually my biggest single monthly expense. During the winter it's utilities.

George Lippencott 5 years, 1 month ago

beatrice (anonymous) replies…

We weren't talking about "what is enough." So enough already!

I was and am Bea. You never answer that question. The argument for tax increases and cuts absolutely leaves open the issue of how much is enough..

How much in tax increases on the middle or near middle is enough. Blog coming where I will compare potential tax increases on the tax payers between $50K and $100K where I suspect we will find that the $100K family (two people,earning $50K each) will find their available resources after taxes reduced to close to what the family with a $50K income (stay at home Mom). will have.

beatrice 5 years, 1 month ago

What argument for tax increases and cuts? I was saying that taxes aren't bills in the traditional sense, and that is all. You took it to mean something completely different.

However, I'll answer your question: Enough to fund the government without a deficit (through taxes and cuts) and enough to pay down the debt (with cuts and taxes).


George Lippencott 5 years, 1 month ago

Actually Bea I asked repeatedly how much in taxes. Obviously we need to end the deficit spending with some mix of taxes and spending cuts. Have I really miscommunicated that badly or I you ducking the issue. Everybody agrees on taxing the rich. If that is all we do the cuts would be in the range of almost a trillion. Can you handle that?

beatrice 5 years, 1 month ago


However, if we only have cuts of almost a trillion dollars, we are still running a deficit! We also need to raise taxes. No, I am not an economist, so I don't have specific numbers. Quit asking. I do know we need to pay off the money we have already spent. It will mean sacrifice, and sacrifice for everyone. Easier to spread the misery over all rather than just ask it of a few. I'm not one to believe only the rich should be soaked. As I've already said to you, I do believe everyone who possibly could should have skin in the game.

Trust me. Had I been on that supercommittee, I would have been able to find the way to cut spending, raise taxes, eliminate the annual deficit and begin to pay off the debt. Lots of people wouldn't be happy, but it would have been necessary.

George Lippencott 5 years, 1 month ago

beatrice (anonymous) replies… Yes.

However, if we only have cuts of almost a trillion dollars, we are still running a deficit! We also need to raise taxes. "

Moderate Responds:

Actually a trillion stops adding to the deficit. It can be done in the short term by just reversing Mr. Obama’s adds. We did not need to almost double the social safety net as has been done.

The simplistic notion of reversing the Bush tax cuts puts most of the burden on the upper half of the middle class and does not even end the current accounts deficit. (those with incomes below about $50K theoretical would see a tax increase but they pay little or no taxes now because of the high standard deduction - they would be little affected).

I, like the Republicans, see any tax increase going to increased social services rather than an effort to retire the accumulated deficit. I do not trust either party to retire debt when more largess means a better chance at reelection. Any tax increase addressing the accumulated debt should be long term and dedicated to doing just that. Otherwise the money will never get there.

Once we have stopped the annually hemorrhaging we must address the pending Medicare Part A and SS impacts. WE should adjust those programs in part and we should raise taxes - a dedicated tax increase borne by all to compensate for our spending the "trust fund." The increase would be short term to address the hump in costs and phase out when the hump passes. It should not become the means by which we increase benefits in the future after cutting them in the present.

Medicare Part B needs to be reformed and all beneficiaries need to pay more now and in the future. WE need to establish a baseline medical expectation and fund it. Everybody should pay and any means testing should be gradual and not precipitous.

Yes, I will have to pay more taxes but I will have the satisfaction that those taxes will not be squandered as more "ham sandwiches" for reelection. I can not trust the Congress (either party). They spent the trust fund with no understanding as to how to recover those finds when needed


George Lippencott 5 years, 1 month ago

Response to Bea

Lastly we must address the social safety net. It needs to be consolidated under unified management and with a common focus. It is all over the place right now and almost nobody know its magnitude or effectiveness. It should not remain a gratuity in perpetuity. It must not yield perverse incentives. It is a safety net. The recipient should have defined and mandated expectations with consequences for not meeting them.

See Bea, one can define a goal and accomplish what needs to be done with a minimal tax increase right now. The size of the long term tax increase would depend on how much we can save through improvements in all of the programs listed. So, right now my answer is tax the rich and shut up. Set up specific task forces to address the above. Discuss different approaches in the election. Implement what the people want after we have specific trades we can discuss (without hiding pesky details like costs).

The harping by the Democrats to “increase taxes” and by the Republicans to make major reforms to social safety net programs are just like the fireworks of the Wizard). Over in the corner there are rational solutions that balance things. Giving the Democrats more tax revenue without safeguards to see it is spent to address the problem and not expand largess is stupid. Letting the Republicans spook us into premature and unnecessary cuts in our programs is just as stupid. Where is that centrist party I keep looking for???

Alceste 5 years, 1 month ago

Social Security has been an American success story. It has lifted millions of senior citizens out of poverty and provided financial security for widowed and divorced spouses, children and persons with disabilities. It currently has a $2.4 trillion surplus and has not contributed one penny to the deficit that we face today. In today's volatile economic times, when 401(k)s and other retirement savings are being eroded, reducing benefits or raising the age of eligibility for Social Security would be devastating for those who rely on its modest benefits for most of their income. I will do whatever I can to ensure that guaranteed Social Security benefits are protected.

Medicare has helped seniors and persons with disabilities get needed health care, and it has done so with far lower administrative costs than private insurance. The Republican budget would eliminate Medicare and replace it with inadequate voucher payments to private insurance companies. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates it would double out-of-pocket costs by 2022. It asks seniors and people with disabilities, half of whom have less than $19,000 a year in income, to pay more and get less. Americans can't afford to lose the health and economic security protections that Medicare provides. Medicare is an extremely cost effective way of getting health care to seniors and people with disabilities, and I will do everything I can to protect it.

Finally, let me mention Medicaid – our nation's primary payer for home- and community-based long-term care services, as well as nursing home care. It is imperative to oppose efforts to cut Medicaid funding or turn it into a block grant as the Republican budget would do. As the baby boomer generation begins to retire, we are going to need to rely on Medicaid even more to cover seniors' needs, as well as those of persons with disabilities, children and families.

While I agree the deficit must be reduced, I believe those cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and reduced Social Security benefits are simply unacceptable. The President's 18-member National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility Reform agreed that Social Security does not contribute to the deficit. In fact, Social Security has a $2.4 trillion surplus and is capable of paying full benefits for the next two decades. The bad news is that the Commission's co-chairs – Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles – put forward a proposal that would cut Social Security benefits as part of their plan. U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) released a deficit reduction plan which exceeds the President's goal of achieving budget balance by 2015 without hurting essential programs, like Social Security and Medicare. Where did Schakowsky's plan go?

beatrice 5 years, 1 month ago

Eliminating Obama's add-ons would not end the deficit. That is to suggest we didn't have one prior to Obama, and that simply isn't true.

Other than that, I think I agree with the rest. Can't trust either party and must demand that both do what is best for our longterm interest.

George Lippencott 5 years, 1 month ago

You are missing the point. We have a 14 T deficit. It is growing. We must first stop that growth. It is growing because the Obama administration added about a trillion in new annual federal expenditures. We have so far eliminated about 200 to 300 billion. We have more to go. Raising taxes on the rich will hardly dent this ($70B per year). If we just roll back expenditures to what they were when this administration took over we will have that problem solved for now. We stop the growth.

We then have to address new expenditures for mostly SS when outflow exceeds inflow (the condition for which the "trust fund" was created. Since (Medicare is already in the budget and we just have to handle the growth. The reforms I mentioned should address that to include a dedicated tax for Part A and higher charges for part B

I also addressed SS. A dedicated tax increasae will be required to do that. It should be on everybody and only after we reform the program ( raise retirement age, tax all the way up, mandate parrticipation, address fraud, change inflation measure)

We must also address the long term deficit but that can be done over 20 years. It took that long to get here so we should not try to solve it in a year or two. Sort the other stuff first and then see where we are. Additional taxes may then be required.

jayhawklawrence 5 years, 1 month ago

I would be interested to know, for people are complaining about taxes, how much of their income can be attributed to taxes paid by others.

For example, if you are teacher, your income is almost entirely coming from taxes paid by others.

If you are in construction, where does the money come from for a large percentage of your jobs.

In manufacturing, how many contracts are coming from the defense industry.

And so on...

If you are in banking and finance or specifically wall street, how much of your income is coming from indirect subsidies from the federal government and from interest payments and commissions from companies who are relying upon the taxes paid by others.

I think people need to think about it when they start complaining about their taxes and stop automatically blaming government.

jayhawklawrence 5 years, 1 month ago

This mindless complaint about taxes and big government, without really thinking about what you are saying, is what has led to more inequities in our tax system and a wider gap between rich and poor in this country because of the decline of the middle class and the auctioning off and liquidation of our manufacturing assets.

It is going to take good management and talent to get us back on track. Not a bunch of BS.

Cindy Wallace 5 years, 1 month ago

HEALTH INSURANCE!! My COBRA went up $60 per Month beginning January 1, 2012, making it a monthly bill of $437 without Dental coverage for only myself

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