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Congress Should Pass Measure Nobody Likes

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Congress has been having trouble coming up with a debt limit measure because members want something they like. It's difficult to pass such a measure because the wants of the different Senators and Representatives conflict too much.

Members of Congress need to recognize that the"tooth ache" they are dealing with isn't likely to have a pleasant solution. Instead of looking for a measure they like they should concentrate on passing a temporary measure that includes provisions they know their opponents will dislike. This approach would allow members of each party to console their supporters by pointing out what the opposition had to give up. It would also provide an incentive to negotiate a solution to the current deficit situation.

I realize Congress is unlikely to consider any measure from outside, but I feel I should at least take a chance. If you think this proposal is worth considering you might email it to your Representative and Senators.

The provisions involving spending or taxes would be temporary based on certain budget deficit "triggers". Each provision would have a different trigger. When the deficit falls below a trigger, that provision would no long apply. Spending on a certain program could be resumed or a tax would be reduced on eliminated.

Congress would not necessarily eliminate any spending programs (tax credits would be considered as spending programs). Instead spending would be suspended until sufficient money was available for the program. Prior to the next deadline, Congress would determine the triggers for individual provisions.

I suggest the following unpopular provisions. The unpopular provision for Republicans would be extension of the payroll (FICA) tax to all income received from an employer including all the income received by athletes and entertainers. Business owners would not pay a higher tax on their incomes. Employers would not pay the matching tax on the higher employee income. This tax might be phased out as the deficit declines or another tax might be reduced.

An unpopular provision with Democrats would be to delay spending on new programs including Obamacare. Spending wouldn't begin until spending on the program wouldn't adversely affect the deficit. The deficit wouldn't need to be eliminated, only reduced. Elitist Democrats still don't understand that many Republican House members were able to defeat Democrats in 2010 because their constituents strongly opposed Obamacare.

Spending for grant programs to non-profit groups along with state and local governments would be suspended beginning January 1, 2014. The amount of spending involved could reduce the deficit sufficiently that many of those programs with a higher priority (as determined by Congress) could be continued. Others programs would be resumed as funds became available.

All tax credit programs would be suspended. Those credits already approved might be claimable at some future date. An exception would be for programs that benefit individuals making less than $50,000 per year. Tax credit programs in general would be the last of the "spending programs" to be resumed. Energy related credits might be the first to be reauthorized.

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