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Bernie Sanders Has the Perfect Idea

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  • Democrat
    Meridian, MS
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    Now that the fiscal cliff has been avoided, the Republicans are hell-bent on going so far as to demand a government shutdown if the Democrats do not agree on significant revenue gains from the big three--Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, in order to pay down the National Debt.

    The main point here is that Social Security does not add one penny to the National Debt, as it has its own Trust Fund which is currently solvent for a number of years and can easily be "tweaked" to add to those years, especially through adding higher levels of income as S.S. taxable. This can easily be done without decreasing benefits, and is NOT a part of the Federal Budget.

    Medicare is a U.S. government sponsored program, paid for by a trust fund that those who are covered have paid into over their working years, and these retired beneficiaries continue to pay a monthly fee for this insurance, which covers about 80% of services rendered. Either the beneficiary or a supplemental insurance plan must pay the remaining 20%. There are pharmaceutical options as well. Estimates show the cost of Medicare is about 12% of the Federal Budget.

    Medicaid is also a U.S. government sponsored program, run by individual states, with the costs being divided between the Federal government and the individual state governments, usually around a 50:50 split, but there are some states that get somewhat more. Estimates show the cost of Medicaid is about 7% of the Federal Budget and 16.8% of the states budgets.

    Mr. Sanders' suggestion is for everyone to contact their Federal House and Senate Representatives, and demand that Social Security be totally eliminated as a topic in the deficit talks, since it is NOT a contributor to the deficit. Any increase in premiums or other monies from reduced services cannot go toward reducing the Federal Deficit, as these monies would have to go into the Social Security Trust Fund, by law.

    Mr. Sanders also had one more two-point terrific idea: 1. The elimination of U.S. companies from being able to invest in the Caymans and other tax shelters, thus bringing all that interest income back to the U.S. where it rightfully can and should be taxed. 2. A small tax, he mentioned a nickel or a quarter, added to each and every separate transaction on Wall Street. These two points would bring in mega-dollars to the U.S. Treasury, and our coverage of the debt could be addressed quicker and in a far less-painful manner than the Republicans are suggesting.

    This sure seems like a well-thought-out methodology, and I give all the credit to Mr. Sanders.
  • Independent
    Plymouth, WI
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    I find your percentage of the Federal budget for these programs to be quite high for sure. This percentage must be taken from the less than fifty percent of our tax dollars left after the war budget, I have to assume anyhow, correct me if I am wrong. The Republicans want to stop all social programs and become like Mexico, where the Federal tax dollars do not help the needy, only the rich and the corrupt. I know I pay a medical tax ever pay day, so what should this money be used for, to build two more nuclear subs? According to the Republicans it should. The Republicans make it easy for once blind sheep to see the truth about the system that owns our government.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Yes, I've not seen or heard anything about drastic defense cuts; which is the real noose around our necks; Lockheed just signed a new agreement to built another bunch of F35's the worst plane in history besides the F22. Sorry we would only need these planes if WWIII would start; after that we all are dead so taxes are then no problem anymore. Since military aircraft do not fly at all the hours, like civil aircraft, planes like F16's only need updating to up to date avionics and weapons systems, which is a lot cheaper than building totally new airframes which are not tried and proven.
    Again just for a few aircraft the bill is over $16 billion. But what I like to know what have our wars cost since 1948? ( Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and all other smaller events Cuba etc.) I bet if you add all of this, we could pay our debt to China and have money left.
    Three quarter of all our bases around the world can be closed; why do we still have bases in Germany, for instance WWII ended 68 years ago.
    Bases in the far east set up also after WWII to protect us from the Japanese. Sure we can have some stratigic spots around the world, but keeping all of them until now, is wasting a lot of money. Killing Bin Laden alone did cost several millions (the crashed helicopter alone $25 mil!) what did we get back for that? Only satisfaction of "revenge" which did cost us over 6000 lifes of our own soldiers, let alone the cost in the trillions.
    No, we have to get a much smarter defense policy; full scale wars are our undoing. Go only after the culprits which actually do us harm; Syria is an ferfect example; we finally learned to stay out of that. Vietnam should have been a huge lesson but that lesson was soon forgotten.
    By selecting this Republican Hagel to be the next defense secretary is not in the interest of the "budget" for sure.

    Therefore to solve our "debt" cutting defense spending should be priority one, certainly not "medicare" (this is only a "political" ploy)
  • Democrat
    Lawrence, MA
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    The headline story in today's Boston Globe details how Congress has authorized money to keep military bases in Massaxhusttes open even though the Pentagon has expressed frustration with these Congressmen because it says it doesn't need or want the bases. This story is an eye popper. Obama said that such measures "will divert scarce resources." Then he signed the bill. .....How can you tell if you're living in an asylum if insanity is the norm ? This article is must reading if you can find it on the net.
  • Democrat
    Meridian, MS
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    united: I believe you are correct in saying that the percentage of the Federal budget figures that I used are quite high, but they are accurate. Reference: http://www.diffen.com/difference/Medicaid_vs_Medicare And I also believe both you and Dutch are correct in saying that a majority of this money COULD and SHOULD come from a reduction in our military (not war) budget. This would not be a permanent thing either, as enough could be pro-rated each year until the deficit was paid so that it would only take some finite number of years to pay it all. Especially coupled with Mr. Sanders' proposed savings in eliminating tax havens and taxing Wall Street trades, this should be a very do-able undertaking. I wish I had the smarts to calculate what these efforts COULD produce, and just see how few years it would take to accomplish what I thought was an almost eternal job.
  • Independent
    Plymouth, WI
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    michaels39301 Wrote: united: I believe you are correct in saying that the percentage of the Federal budget figures that I used are quite high, but they are accurate. Reference: http://www.diffen.com/difference/Medicaid_vs_Medicare And I also believe both you and Dutch are correct in saying that a majority of this money COULD and SHOULD come from a reduction in our military (not war) budget. This would not be a permanent thing either, as enough could be pro-rated each year until the deficit was paid so that it would only take some finite number of years to pay it all. Especially coupled with Mr. Sanders' proposed savings in eliminating tax havens and taxing Wall Street trades, this should be a very do-able undertaking. I wish I had the smarts to calculate what these efforts COULD produce, and just see how few years it would take to accomplish what I thought was an almost eternal job.
    For sure military spending is out of control and has dominated our tax dollars for far too many years, even before we had a deficit, but now with our huge deficit, the military needs to be put in their place. This is not a military ruled country like our military thinks it is and should be. Sure we need a military, but we cannot afford the one we have hands down, financially nor with our majority lives. There is no reason in the world America should of gone to war, but here we are still at war, why, because the military is running the show that is why, it is time our President grows a set and stands up to the politicians and military leaders that feel the military needs to keep spending in the trillions each year at the expense of the majority. Not only do we pay with our lives, but we pay with health care we can't have, repaired roads and bridges we can't have, so our tax dollars can buy more F-22's and other billions of dollar war toys. It is far past time to stop the military control in this country before it is out of control even more.
  • Independent
    New Hampshire
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    Once you accept that Congressmen can say anything thing they want without fear of any action being taken you have to guestion their honesty.
    The week before Christmas I watched an older neighbor and his wife climb into a car and drive off. He worked had all his life and continued to work until at the age of 77 he found he had cancer and the treatments caused him to lose his job and spend what little he had saved. He never said a word about his situation to his neighbors. He bought his house when prices and interest rates were high, working only a part time job would not allow him to rewrite the loan to a much lower rate or even have the balance reduced.

    I'm trying to locate the couple and see if there is anything I can do. I wish I had know more before this all happened. The cold weather before Christmas had forced them to live in one room of a six room house with electric heat. I would bring things to them on occasion not because I knew of their financial situation, which I didn't know about, I did it because they were a nice couple and it was my way of saying thank you for being a neighbor.

    I remember the GOP talking about the death boards that would come from National Health, which never occurred. I see they coming into existance by the demands being presented by the GOP. I see a lack of ethics, honesty and compassion on the part of the extreme right, you know them as they proclaim to the world their Christian Values of greed. Thge ones which support oil compamies and wars against countries to assure the supply of oil remains uninterupted. They are willing to pay three, four or more times the contract price because of unquestioned price over runs so we can support high military costs.

    They supports some countries that are wose than others on human rights issues because we get what we want from them, oil. Interesting that you may become a member of Congress and not be a millionair; but you are one when you leave.

    The GOP is now in the process of holding meetings on how to attract the people they don't care about? It's simple, promice them anything to get their vote and then walk over them. I remember when I was proud to be an American, at 77 I don't thing I'll ever experience that again.
  • Green Party
    Arizona
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    Yes, Bernie Sanders is one of the good guys. Notice: He is not a member of the duopoly, but an independent. He is one of the few to whom I sent a monetary donation to assist his campaign.
  • Independent
    Plymouth, WI
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    jperry,
    pretty sad about your neighbors, I hope you can find them and help them too. What is even sadder, the Right could care less about your words above, your words above do not make them money, so they have no emotion for this. The Right(who is wrong) has no compassion like you stated, that is way sad, still, we do have compassion, no matter what the right does or says, I would rather be me broke than them with their money and no human emotion. Be ashamed of what the Republican values say and preach, but you can still be proud of this country, because there are still good Americans here, you have proven that.