I solved the deficit!

The New York Times has created an online “game” that allows you to solve the deficit.

I was able to solve it quite handily in about five minutes. Here is my solution.

While it is both easy and reasonable to talk about cutting Foreign Aid, Defense, Farm Subsidies, Earmarks and shrinking the Government, it is clear that the lion’s share of the deficit falls into two major categories: Social Security and Socialized Healthcare (aka Medicare). A third — welfare — is not even mentioned. That’s what is killing the economies of Western Europe, and that is what will kill us…

When Social Security was designed back in the thirties, it was originally sold as an “insurance scheme” (though it was later re-defined as a tax) for those who reached the age of 65. Back then, only one in fourteen people lived to see their sixty-fifth birthday… in which case Uncle Sam got to keep the money. This leads to the inescapable conclusion that Social Security was a scam on Day One.

So where do we get the idea that you have a sacred right to “retire” at age 65? Most of the world does not understand the concept of mandatory retirement; you work until:

  • You can afford to live on your savings.
  • Your children can afford to support you.
  • You die.

For me, it is a moot point: by the time I am able to retire, I suspect that the Government will turn out empty pockets and say something to the effect of “you on you own, foo!”

Medicare, on the other hand, is a huge can of worms. We all want free healthcare and cheap drugs when we get old, but somebody’s got to pay the bill. Congress recently enacted a 23% cut in Medicare rates paid to Doctors for their services, but they haven’t implemented it yet — on the very sensible grounds that as soon as they do, one third of the doctors will retire and another third will stop taking medicare patients, leaving too many Medicare patients chasing too few Doctors — at which point the system will promptly collapse under its own weight. Moral: you can dictate whatever terms you like, but you cannot force people to buy what you are selling.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that America, the land of opportunity, free enterprise, hard work, liberty and justice for all, is turning into the land of Big Government, where everone expects the Government to be all things to all people all of the time. Many of the areas in the “game” — such as HealthCare, Banking and some Taxes — pertain to areas where the Federal Government has no Constitutional Mandate.

If it were up to me, I would move to dismantle the welfare state in the long term, and abolish the Income Tax and replace it by a Sales Tax of 20%…

…but it’s not up to me, thank God.

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