April 11th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Threat of govt shutdown cut $38B: How will serious deficit reduction ever be accomplished?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It was close, but less than two hours before the federal government was set to shut down Friday night, Republicans and Democrats came to an agreement on $38.5 billion in spending cuts to the 2011 fiscal budget.

All the expected self-congratulatory back-patting and smiles accompanied the deal. Some even touted the measure as creating the largest spending cuts in American history. But let's not forget the fiscal year is half over already, and they've been putting this off for six months. Let's also not forget that when it comes to the debt crisis in this country, the 2011 budget is only the tip of the iceberg. In the eight days leading up to the vote Friday night alone, our national debt rose by $54 billion. We are anticipated to run a deficit of $1.4 trillion this year, so $38.5 billion is chump change.

The next big fight on Capitol Hill will be over raising the nation's debt ceiling. The Treasury Department says we'll reach that limit of $14.3 trillion dollars around May 16. Starting this weekend, Congress will be on a two-week spring break. That makes a lot of sense. That means when they return, they'll only have about two weeks to hammer out a deal before the country runs out of money. Many Republicans have said they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling under any circumstances. Period.

President Barack Obama is expected weigh in on all of this Wednesday in a speech that will lay out his plan for reducing the deficit. The president will propose cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and call for reforms to Social Security. He will also suggest raising taxes for Americans making more than $250,000 a year.

All things we've heard before. All things that are needed and, of course, nothing's been done. But Congress is going on vacation.

Here’s my question to you: If it takes the threat of a government shutdown to cut $38 billion, how will serious deficit reduction ever be accomplished?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Tom in Huntington, New York:
By getting rid of the Bush tax cuts. They could also close the loopholes that allow corporations, making billions in profit, to pay no taxes. We have much more of a revenue problem than a spending problem. The Uber-rich are not paying their fair share. It is past time that they "share the pain."

It won't. The amount of cuts required to balance the budget are simply too overwhelming to comprehend. Even more depressing, no politician will dare to risk political suicide by proposing any unpopular cuts.

Ray in Georgia:
One of two ways. It took us about 75 years to get into this mess so it may take us 75 years to get out of it. But to be sure, we will need some grown-up's to do it. It is disgusting to hear some of the elected representatives say the sky is falling if we cut anything. Well the sky will fall if we do nothing.

Z. in Burbank, California:
If we get out of Iraq like promised and send all the illegal alien parasites back home, we would be absolutely shocked at how much more money is in the coffer. It's not rocket science. A work-for-welfare program wouldn't be a bad idea either. They can fill the void from the banished illegals.

Obama's stimulus program is the proven solution to a healthy economy. When we are earning money again we will be in a position to bring down the deficit. Top economists like Krugman, Reich, and Stiglitz know that cutting spending is going to set the economy back and postpone any possibility of paying down the deficit.

Jeff in Minnesota:
One dollar at a time, Jack. This will not be easy because of all of the "sacred cows" that have been created over the years. This is where President Obama needs to lead.

Filed under: Deficit • Government
soundoff (243 Responses)
  1. Matt Toohey

    Serious deficit reduction will never occur unless we stop being the world policeman and members of Congress have to join Social Security. As long as there is no incentive for Congress to stop spending on things that benefit them drunken sailor spending will continue.


    April 11, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  2. Tom Picciani

    Energy prices are to blame for the majority of government costs. the Military, the cost to government payrolls, etc. all are dictated by the rising price of energy. Control speculation. Obama should declare a National Emergency and force the sale of all oil assets of commodity hoarders. Then set the maximum price that oil can be sold on the exchanges at $100 / bbl.
    Also, the government should buy up land in the Bakken reserve and refine it themselves to supply the military. That way we always have a secure supply.
    Drop the price of energy and everything else falls into line.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  3. marcia

    By going after the social programs that affect the aged,infermed, and anyone else in this country so GE can pay no taxes and oh yeah people like "THE DON" . and isn't congress to blame for a screwed budget anyway and they stood to get paid for not doing their job!!!!!!!!JUST GREAT!!!!!!!!

    April 11, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  4. sean ensign1

    oh jack, how serious deficit reduction ever be accomplished? I did not know anyone on the hill actually cared....so the answer is not a thing.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  5. Peg in NY

    Serious deficit reduction will occur if compassion, understanding and compromise are 100% on all sides of this issue. A pro active approach should be more effective than anger, blame and devisiveness. Work together for the greater good; that is why you are all elected.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  6. John from Alabama

    Jack: Reducing the budget will not reduce the deficit enough to make a measurable mark. To reduce the deficit calls for reform of the tax code, closing loophole businesses use not to pay taxes, such as, GE, raise the age on social security, reduce fraud in medicare and medicaid, and do away with all taxcuts for all Americans. This will help reduce the $14.4 trillion deficit in 4 to 5 years. Just ask Wall Street, CNBC, and Warren Buffett.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  7. Charles, Lansing, Michigan

    What wasn't cut gives you your answer. The military industrial complex wasn't touched. But the Montana Senators get to shoot wolves on spring break.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  8. Metalworker

    As long as the well to do say that ?250k is knot well off and refuse to give a penny to help our country out of a hole, then please tell me whyn some one earninr ?20k should give up things that are esential to life, like eating and med. care. Tell me , why

    Louis in La Salle IL.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  9. Patrick Wilhelm

    Dear Mr. Cafferty,

    I just read a CNN poll that claims about 60% of those polled believe the President and the democrats in congress should be credited with averting a government shut down. That doesn't surprise me since it was a CNN poll, but it does worry me in that it suggests the American people don't want to change the status quo. It seems we are destined to be a third rate nation run by people who do not care about the people of the United States and elected by people who are stupid enough to believe those they elect do care about them.


    Patrick Wilhelm
    Mays Landing, New Jersey

    April 11, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  10. Conor in Chicago

    Deficit reduction will be accomplished by raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy to levels that will sustain our nation-state as they had in the past. We do not have a spending problem. That is extreme right wing propoganda meant to de-legitamize government so as to give corporations more power in the United States. The only thing that has changed in the last 40 years is the amount of taxes the wealthy and corporations pay in this country. Oh and of course the Republican War (IE, IRaq) for which the Republican hero GWB hid the cost of war with Supplemental Spending Bills for all of his Presidency while left liberals were complaining about it being told we were unpatriotic.

    If the American left doesn't start making a serious fuss about reintroducing acceptable levels of taxation we might as well start digging Americas grave now.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  11. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    To make serious cuts to the budget you need politics put to the side. You need cooperation especially from tea party members who insist on attacking social issues, that doesn't amount to anything when it comes to balancing the budget. You need to make the richest Americans pay their fair share and companies like GE to start paying taxes. You cannot balance the budget on the backs of the middle class, because if they do they will ceased to exist and we will become a nation of rich and poor.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  12. s in fl

    I think the first step would to have honest representation of the facts. For instance, the Dems immediately agreed to cut the budget $1 billion more than the first volley from the GOP. All the drama was over a remanufactured number by the GOP that they used to blackmail the Dems into shutting down a bunch of their ideological pet peeve targets. It was all an ideological ruse that didn't work. Boehner knew he was beat and Obama gave him extra $5B for political cover. But the real answer to your question is very simple. Start collecting taxes from all of our deadbeat corporations and billionaire tax dodgers. And shut down all the obnoxious corporate welfare.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  13. francap

    Raise taxes on the rich. You know, the people with most of the wealth in this Country.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  14. Jane (Minnesota)

    The thing that frustrates me about this is everytime spending bills end up with those controversial social agenda add-ons attached to them. That's what's causing this crap in Washington and it will probably happen again on the next battle. The "children" in Washington who were elected in November will do anything to try to get their social agenda enacted. They seem to have given job growth and the economy a far back seat.

    I wish Congress would operate under rules that specifically separate social issues bills (non budgetary items) away from any budget-related bills. It doesn't hurt to dream!

    In the meantime, the children in Washington refuse to address defense spending and they are going to have to re-instate the bush tax cuts on the very wealthy if they want to take budget reduction seriously. Fat chance of either when the lovbbyists lead our elected children around.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  15. Richard, in Kansas

    How about if the five percent of Americans who own everything start paying their fair share of taxes. We dont just have a spending problem we have a revenue problem. These people arn't job creators and nothing trickles down from them. You can only squeeze the poor, elderly and middle class so much before something has to give.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  16. Bonnie from NJ

    We can all see where this is going, the debt reduction is going to come at the expense of the middle class, seniors and the needy. How about making the rich and the corporations pay their share, since they have all been robbing us blind for the last 12 years. And here's a concept, make those corporations bring back decent jobs, a lot more people working at good paying jobs equals revenue. How about ending the wars, ending the Bush tax cuts (which contrary to popular belief is not a tax increase), how far would that go to help end the deficit. I don't mind putting in my fair share, I just want everyone else to do it also.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  17. Don Desaulniers (Belleville, Canada)

    It won't. The amount of cuts required to balance the budget are simply too overwhelming to comprehend. Even more depressing, no politician will dare to risk political suicide by proposing any unpopular cuts.
    Canada might be willing to buy Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana for the fourteen trillion dollars you desperately need, but unfortunately it would require a low interest vendor take-back mortgage from you. Also, Canada is just as broke as you, so it will have to be a no down payment mortgage.
    Call me if you're interested.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  18. dennis north carolina

    Why not live with out government so that the strong or rich will survive and the poor will will die or be slaves to the rich. when you just cut programs such as medical and education you are setting up a slave market. this is the republican way. no regulations in any areas also leaves the door open for them to take the wealth away from the middle class. Tthis is the republican way of life. the poor get poorer.middle class the middle class gets poorer.
    but the rich gets richer. we watch this happen in the past four years with the falling, who lost all the money and who bought the cheap stocks as they were falling. we need cuts and we need to raise taxes. we need to stop the coruption and close the loop holes in the systems. then we will not have a national debt. we do not need the republican way!

    April 11, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  19. Scott in Bellingham

    Shutting down government is the best way to alleviate spending more money than is being brought in because the result is immediate. The sooner the better to stop the bleeding.

    During a shutdown let them bicker, then maybe they’ll be motivated to bicker faster. Get rid of pork, end corporate tax loopholes, cut programs in half, raise taxes, whatever to eliminate deficit and debt.

    In 2012 get rid of another 70 or so. That notion is a ray of hope.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  20. Loren, Chicago

    Funny thing is, it turns out that the $38B is just smoke and mirrors at present, so the likelihood of serious deficit reduction seems as likely as President Obama releasing his original birth certificate.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  21. Rick McDaniel

    First cut the subsidization of children.

    We don't expect parents to pay for the birth, the education, the higher education, nor the child care, of children, while working. On top of that, we give tax credits for them, and special tax credits for them. Government is paying a large percentage of the bill to allow people to have as many children as they want. That's very expensive, and environmentally destructive, as well. (That means we will overpopulate to the point of planetary destruction, within 40 yrs.) Encouraging more humans, at this point, is simply signing the death warrant for the planet. Subsidizing that, is about the most foolish thing, imaginable.

    Second, stop giving away hundreds of billions every year, to try and buy friends around the world. It has not been, nor is it now, gaining us, any friends. We have mostly created dictators, from that practice.

    Third, the size of government has gotten far too large, with far too many high salaries being paid, for questionable jobs.

    Fourth, stop cutting taxes, when expenses are higher than normal. All of the tax cuts made in the past decade, have been foolish.

    Fifth, stop allowing both, the wealthy people, and the wealthy corporations to escape taxation. GE is just one example of that stupidity.

    Sixth, and this is the biggest of all.......stop allowing American jobs to be sent off shore. Legislate against it, if necessary. That is bankrupting this nation. The discretionary income buying power, for Americans, has declined by 45%, over the past 20 years. That is largely because of the transfer of American manufacturing off shore. Period. The majority of Americans are now blue collar people. The middle class has retrenched. There is no longer any financial power, in the middle class. It is now the wealthy, vs. the non-wealthy, with few people in the middle. That's largely because of the transfer of jobs off shore.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  22. HJ

    By raising taxes. We have an allergy in this country to paying for the stuff we have. We have almost never had appropriate tax rates. The spending hasn't changed, we've just let the debt grow and grow. Now all those bad decisions actually matter.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm |

    If it takes the threat of a government shutdown to cut $38 billion, how will serious deficit reduction ever be accomplished?


    Here in California we have a similar problem. Republicans only wanting to CUT and Not Raise Taxes.

    It's NOT working here and it isn't going to work for the nation.

    Unless the cut is across the board it is NOT going to be fair to all.

    It's not about our budget deficit it is about politics.

    Roseville CA

    April 11, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  24. david -seattle

    get rid of the special interest,getting tax breaks, subsidies and renegotiate Nafta port rates by charging enough to cover the pro rated debt on local communities forced to pay for the bond payment to the banks who issue infrastructure bonds ( i.e. cruise terminals), to accomodate offshore big businesses... we need a federal injunction on the upcoming "cruise line summer season", in seattle -alaska until. carnival , holland america, and princess ( all controlled by one man "mickey arison (also owner of n.b.a. miami heat<) and the other 3 ,royal carribean, celebrity and Norwegian cruiselines until they pay $150 per passenger up front , so locals can use libraries and schools at 21 st century times, not close down so money stolen from property taxes can be used to pay the bond payment so governor can brag she got good credit with banks who benefitted from bailout while all suffer except offshore monopolizers of u.s. currency

    April 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  25. Phyllis G Williams

    If it takes the threat of a government shutdown to cut $38 billion, how will serious deficit reduction ever be accomplished?

    When we stop giving all the money to single individuals and stop trying to collect it back from the poor who have worked so hard in saving for their retirement..

    April 11, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  26. Jerome in Canada

    At the end of the Clinton administration the debt was only 54% of GDP but at the end of GW Bush's administration it was a whopping 83% but the GOP think they can fix it by cutting taxes and spending. they should think again, if I was trying to lower my debt I would not cut my salary and then try to do without maintaining my home as the GOP want to I would raise my salary (taxes)any way I could so I could maintain my home. The US has to raise taxes and used those to fix the failing infrastructure (remember those gas line explosions?) that way we would put more tax payers to work so they could pay more taxes. I can't figure out why people in the US think that they should enjoy the highest standard of living without having to pay for it.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  27. Katja in Tampa, Florida

    Jack, serious deficit reductions will NEVER happen as long as WE the PEOPLE, continue to let the dictators in Congress continue to act like children. They fuss, fight and posture, as if they know what they are doing. OK they do, they are screwing over the people they work for. And we let them do it. The shutdown should have happened.
    Holding the military pay and Planned Parenthood hostage is low even for them. If they had any sense of service to their country and to the American service men and women, or to living in the 21st century, none of the drama of this past Friday would have happened.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  28. Tina Tx

    With this lot nothing will ever be accomplished. Term limits should be the 1st order on the agenda. These old buzzards been up so long and have decided not to work with Obama on anything which is not what the American people voted for. We want civility back in all parts of Washington politics. Ya I know I am living in a dream world.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  29. Pete from Georgia

    Easy. Just elect ALL conservatives to the Congress, Senate, and Presidency.
    In Wash. DC there are 545 politicians currently ruining a country of 310 million. Think of it : 545 vs. 310 million.
    It's time the 310 million wake up, make the changes, and save America.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  30. Ed from California

    Jack, we don't have a spending problem we have a revenue problem! We hand out billions in farm subsidies. We hand out billions in Oil subsidies. We hand out billions in Defence subsidies. We hand out billions to the Telecommunication industry, the Health Care industry. We had out billions in tax breaks to the very rich (Koch Brothers, Walton family). We hand out tax breaks to Corporations. We even give the corporations tax breaks for sending our jobs to foreign lands. We have an unfair trade tariff's. etc, etc.... And we wonder why were broke???

    But, all in all, its the teacher, the fireman, the policeman, the state and city worker's who created all this mess! Damn, I should've been watching CNN for all the answers instead of listening to Beck and Limbaugh!

    April 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  31. Tom in Desoto, TX

    When the U.S. population cannot pay for cheap good from countries who hold our debt, they'll be here to foreclose. I'm guessing those in Congress are hoping to pass away before they have to endure the consequence of their votes.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  32. Steve, NY

    The only way serious deficit can be reduced is to get rid of all the Democrats, at least get a majority in the Senate. Voters made a big mistake by re-electing Reid as a the Senator in Neveda. The Neveda union support did it, what does that tell you?
    If you want things get done on the budget vote Republican in 2012.
    The Democrats are now the "party of no". Since the Republicans are now at least control 1/3 of the Government, you don't hear the left wing nuts
    calling the Republicans as the party of no.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  33. Kathie

    Never will. Debt could be reduced by stopping these senseless unwinnable wars, close military bases around the world (what country has a base in ours??), stop giving money away to other countries like monopoloy money, stop spending millions on bombs to oust a leader our country deems inappropriate, stop funding education/health care for illegal aliens (bill their country of origin) , stop the outsourcing of our jobs and rediculous "compensation" of CEOs, only clean bills with no amendments or ad-ons attached and take care of business at home!

    April 11, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  34. Jayne

    They're going after chump change. Until someone is brave enough to put defense on the table, the poor, elderly and disabled will continue to be the easy targets. Grandma has no lobbyists to protect her Medicare and Social Security.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  35. Virginia Atlanta GA

    It matters less how much than how it is spent. Ecomonic 101 – money spent within the county gets recycled in the country – also lower income folks save less because they can't save, thus spend and recycle the money here.

    Another econ 101 principal – In good times, we require an employment rate of about 5% so there is a low wage labor pool. Don't we have a moral necessity to see that our labor pool can still eat and have housing – not to mention medical care. What does that mean in bad times? The rich would not be rich without an underclass to exploit.

    We were once upper middle income, retired 15 years ago, Increased costs, poor stock market results and now we barely fit in the middle class bracket any longer. BUT, I would rather see my taxes increase than see us destroy members of our community so others members of the community can have more money than they could spend in 100 lifetimes.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  36. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua

    Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. (Santayana)

    FDR was a good listener. In 1937, Republicans admitted that the country was coming out of depression, but that it would be doing so even faster if he cut back on spending. Roosevelt considered the possibility that they might know what they were talking about. They didn't. The country slumped back into depression and unemployment. Roosevelt quickly saw the error of their ways and put the country back to work.

    Obama's stimulus program is the proven solution to a healthy economy. When we are earning money again we will be in a position to bring down the deficit.

    The reason Ryan thinks we have a spending problem is because he has a thinking problem. Top economists like Krugman, Reich, and Stiglitz know that cutting spending is going to knock us back and postpone any possibility of paying down the deficit.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  37. RickFromDetroit

    We should have shut the Government Down, bankrupted everyone and started all over. Organized crime began taking control of the government when the Reagan Regime seized power in 1980. Our middle class has diminished since then while the number of millionaires and billionaires has reached new record increases every year.

    Our government stimulus money is no longer reaching the hands of the majority of the people, but is being funneled into the hands of the corporate gangsters and the wall street thieves. After they steal the money they then blame the deficits on excessive government spending.

    Since the majority of the citizens of this country do not understand how the economy operates, and don't have the slightest idea where the money is going, they believe liars like Obama, Boehner, McConnell, Pence, Cantor, Ryan, etc., who have made a career out of stealing from the tax payers and then placing the blame on the government. There ultimate goal is to PRIVATIZE THE GOVERNMENT SO THEY CONTROL EVERYTHING.

    The policies that many of our Elected Officials, Corporate Executives, Wall Street Traders, Lawyers, and Bankers follow involves extortion, bribery , racketeering, treason and probably a dozen more unlawful practices hidden beneath the thousands of pages of legal rhetoric that most people do not understand.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  38. Paul Austin, Texas

    If they turn Washington D.C. into an amusment park and build the biggest roller coaster ride and charge at least $20.00 a ride and have palm readers outside the White House telling us who will run and win as the next President and they would have to charge more than the coaster ride. At least that way maybe we will get at least something for our tax dollars.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  39. David of Alexandria VA

    We will know we're serious when the President steps up to the job of leading us through the discussion, collaboration, and compromise required to make this happen. Note that the phrase "rancorous, acrimonious, partisan bickering," is omitted. Once we have a leader who actually sees it as his duty to really lead, who actually considers the future of the country to be more important that his or anyone else's re-election, who actually "walks the rhetoric," then we will be serious.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  40. Jeff in Minnesota

    One dollar at a time Jack. This will not be easy because of all of the "sacred cows" that have been created over the years. This is where President Obama needs to lead.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  41. Thom Richer

    When they stop borrowing from foreign countries for continued spending while taking from the poor and giving to the rich, it will never be taken for a serious attempt at reducing the deficit. There are corporations that could "donate" twice that amount toward reduction without a burp. Yet, we continue to fatten their bank accounts with taxpayers earnings. Three illegitimate and purposefully prolonged wars? Subsidies to companies with record profits and tax free status? Tax upon tax to the poor? Supporting dictatorships of all kinds around the world? Nation building? Governing from Wall Street? Oh, I take them serious alright. About as serious as Obama not being a citizen of the U.S.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    April 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  42. Docb


    Repubs were never about the budget...only about the social power grab issues that they know will not get through the senate!

    If te repubs were seriuos they woild not be gutting the Middle class and the poor while giving tax cuts to the tune of 10% to the wealthy.


    April 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  43. Tim in Texas

    If the government were actually being fiscally responsible, it would not have cut anything from spending. Such cuts shrink the economy and slow growth; you make such cuts when that growth is stable. As for the long-term debt, it makes absolutely no difference whether they decide what to do now, or next year, or even the next year – nothing that is decided will go into effect immediately. Under any plan, we will have deficits for at least the next five years. Stop squawking, Jack. You're not an economist and quite frankly, you don't know what you're talking about.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  44. Conor in Chicago

    Any talk of reducing our debt that doesn't center around raising taxes on the rich, ending corporate personhood and closing corporate tax loopholes, and ending our wars should be met with extreme hostility by the American elecorate and should immediatly be followedwith calls for armed insurrection against the corporate occupation of the United States Government. Full stop.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  45. Jo B. from Nashville

    The threat of a government Shut Down was all Democratic
    strategy. And the media rode the wave. They wanted the
    Shut Down so they could blame the GOP. The same holds
    true for their "new term" " Extremists" for the Tea Party and GOP.
    Well, guess, what...Extremists applies to the Democrats who
    didn't do their job in passing a Budget and for the extreme
    spending spree they have been on for 2 years. They can
    strategize and call the GOP anything they want...but the public
    isn't buying it !

    April 11, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  46. Lori - PA


    I have no faith in the President, members of Congress, or members of the Senate. Not when Democrats, as I have found out, have been sitting on their ass doing nothing in regards to the 2011 spending bill. Not when the Republicans want to use those in the armed forces as pawns to try and get their way. When 2012 comes, even though I have absolutely no chance of winning, I'm going to vote for myself. I can't do any worse than those currently in office.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  47. Tom Huntington, NY

    By getting rid of the Bush Tax Cuts. They could also close the loopholes that allow corporations, making billions in profit, to pay NO taxes. We have much more of a revenue problem than a spending problem

    The Uber rich are not paying their fair share. It is past time that they "share the pain."

    April 11, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  48. Bradley, Portland, OR

    Republicans who refuse to raise the debt ceiling should be careful about being too stubborn, because then there might be pressure to raise revenue to the necessary level to avoid borrowing if that's no longer allowed..

    That would mean massive tax increases on the wealthy and corporations, who are the only constituents they actually care about.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  49. David Fink

    Does anyone realize democrats = republicans. They spout partyline rhetoric with the sole purpose of dividing our country. We are played against each other in an effort to blind us to the raping of our country by the wealthy. I have come to the conclusion that nothing good or wholesome can come from our government. And that all you democrats and republicans are either sheep or criminals. And there is nothing I can do about it

    April 11, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  50. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    It will only be accomplished by education. The boys and girls inside the beltway just need to be educated on what the problem is. This will involve many seminars and presentations, likely held in a foreign country requiring much travel expense. It is education Mr. Cafferty, our educational system will tackle and solve the problem. Just look at the leaps and bounds ecucation has achieved so far ! Stay tuned and keep watching, but do not hold your breath, you are too valuable to the American citizen. Next question.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  51. Ray E. (Georgia)

    One of two ways. it took us about 75 years to get into this mess so it may take us 75 years to get out of it. But to be sure we will need some grownup's to do it.. It is disgusting to hear some of the elected representives say the sky is falling if we cut anything. Well the sky will fall if we do nothing.

    My solution is to take the money we got in the last fiscal year and budget it the next fiscal year minus 2 percent to pay down the debt.

    The other way is to ride this horse right into the ground and then we will have to start over, like it or not.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  52. Steve, Clifton, VA

    The threat of a Government shut down was merely a smoke screen. After all, we have had multiple shut downs previously. Those shutdowns during the Clinton administration resulted in a surplus. If we are to seriously address the deficit , corporate welfare, simplification of the tax laws, DoD spending; Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security must be addressed as recommended by the Presidents Debt Commission and those recommendations must be embraced by both parties in a non political way.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  53. Rich - TX

    Deficit reduction won't occur until the American Public gets educated. I continue to read that a majority of Americans are okay with taxing the rich but they won't even hear about cutting Social Security. As someone who employees 80 people, I don't mind paying a little more in taxes but if you try to get it all from small businesses we will be forced to reduce spending somewhere. This is a problem that ALL Americans caused and so All Americans should be part of the solutions. Don't punish me for working too much.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  54. Dariel, Santa Rosa, CA.

    How about an old fashioned "Import Tax" with no export tax, with the exception of vital commodities (sorry Bill Clinton). That would make it more profitable for American Companies to produce in the USA, which would increase worker payroll taxes and a lesser burden on our unemployment system.
    Don't steal from Social Security. Leave it for its intended purpose.
    Review all Subsidies.
    Review every federal and state agency. You should see how many California has and what they are. Every one has an Administration.

    Schools would lose funding if they saved money. They had to find ways to spend the extra bucks to maintain next years budget.

    Cut the PORK. Buy American (I just got started)

    April 11, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  55. Sylvia from San Diego

    Serious deficit reduction can only be accomplished when the democrats come to terms with the fact that they have to stop spending and have to say NO to the unions. I do not hold my breath on this ever happening.....

    April 11, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  56. Erik from NY

    Don't just threaten a government shutdown of "non-essentials". Threaten that Congress itself won't get paid unless a solution is agreed upon in an orderly manner. Both sides are trying to play to their base when the moderate majority of this country twiddles its thumbs hoping to God that these bafoons come to their senses.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  57. Bud Rupert

    Any real transformation in federal spending will never happen. The federal government increases in size and scope each and every year. Always has and always will. Just like everything else. Health care costs are the perfect example. Do you think health care expenditiures will ever actually decrease. Let me think....Ok I thunk. NO

    April 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  58. Todd

    The first thing that Washington needs to do is STOP referring to SS as an entitlement. When somone takes money and puts it into a retirement account and they start taking the money out as planned at retirement, that is not referred to an entitlement. Same with SS....we are mandated to contribute, but when time comes to get it out, its referred to as an entitlement...how can they cut the deficit spending if they don't know the definition of an entitlement.....food stamps, that is an entitlement. Stop building million dollar toilets at parks and other wasteful spending and that is a great place to start.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  59. Troy Spier

    I really don't know, Jack. If the politicians would stop making this an issue over political parties, they would realize that we are all in this together and we're all responsible for what happens. Paying more for gas or bread is going to seem like nothing when we reach total insolvency.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  60. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    "Serious" deficit reduction will never, ever happen. Until the GOP stops kowtowing to the Tea Party and finally realizes that in addition to deep cuts across the board, taxes must be raised to those when Clinton was in office. The GOP has to take some memory pills as well and remember that they are as much to blame as are the Democrats for the financial mess this country is in.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  61. David in Tampa

    Jack. First of all the entire budget must be gone through cutting waste, fraud and corruption. Fat chance of that ever happening. Second, giveaway programs like industrial subsidies to things like big oil, the farm lobby, this one hurts because my brother-in-law is a small farmer, grants for this and that and pork projects that favor the left, the right and the folks back home. Government contracts that just can't seem to be brought in on budget and time without massive cost overruns, throw the blighters in the slammer. Lastly, look at defense and entitlement programs. Mostly remove the exemption for elected officials to continue getting their paycheck in the event of a government shutdown. The 2012 bloodbath for those that took their payday more than anything else drove compromise on this budget.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  62. Tom McClure

    Quit subsidizing the rich; quit paying for their wars; quit bailing them out after their failures and criminal acts; quit running the U.S. as a nation of the rich, for the rich, and by the rich. Terre Haute, Indiana

    April 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  63. Thomas Fine

    Real deficit cutting has happenned before, and will happen again. Simple: raise taxes a little, slow spending a little and regulate health care. All the rest is show.


    April 11, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  64. Michael

    Lock Social Security into it own budget like it was meant to be. Cut the military like Gates suggested. And then take Medicare and Medicaid and make it into a single payer system. Either to the insurance companies or to the medical providers. And raise taxes and close loopholes.

    Those are the four elephants in the room and must be dealt with first before you can start working on the nickle and dime stuff.

    Michael, Seattle, WA

    April 11, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  65. LMC

    People have to start realizing that we get the services we pay for and that means taxes. The "trickle down" theory of tax cuts for the rich has just not panned out. The rich have taken their tax cuts and not created more jobs. Today the rich pay much less than they used to in taxes. People have to realize if they want social security, health care, police, fire departments, education, etc., the money has to come from somewhere! As a country we do not take very good care of our people, especially when you compare us to Canada and many European countries. So, bite the bullet people and grow up!

    April 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  66. Average American

    How can the Republican majority in this Congress explain to their constituents that trillions of dollars in new debt is good for our economy?....Harry Reid 5 years ago....How things have changed.

    At the same time, ask him how our dept has increased while him and the president promised to reduce the deficit in the first year.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  67. Gerald (Tampa, FL)

    Serious debt reduction has to begin with a change in tax laws. Tax cuts for the ultra rich and the flaw in corporate tax rates have to be re-visited for a conversation to even begin regarding "where to cut".

    April 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  68. Jessica

    Jack, While we do need to cut some spending lets not forget that large tax cuts WHILE in the midst of war helped get us to this point. We need to raise the taxes on the very rich and on companies so they pay their fair share unlike GE and the oil companies. The middle class alone can not rescue us from this pit of debt that we are in.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  69. Robby Bowling

    When the wheels come off of the "Great American Dream Machine" there is gone to be those who'll way the Republican's didn't cut enough. This may be the fall of our empire & we can lay it at the feet of the crooked parasitical politicians, who wont stop spending and pandering to every special interest group on the planet & Wall Street banker's who gambled & lost . It is imbecilic to thank we have the leadership that has the guts to tell the country the absolute truth. Only on our country's deathbed will the truth emigre. Three wars, 10 million unemployed, welfare, social security, medicaid, Obamacare, gas-$4.00 a gallon, sending MILLIONS to foreign country's ( Who don't need it or hate us) ,no energy independence policy , immigration ( illegals) & more. No we don't have a problem if your suicidal. We are not on the wrong path, we're not on any path. Fed up in Dallas

    April 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  70. Mark

    End the three wars, cut the killing machine's budget in half. Lower the payroll tax for Social Security and eliminate the ceiling so everyone pays no matter the income. End the Bush tax cuts and raise them again on those making over 1 million. (C'mon, just how much do they need?) Cut off Israel. End the trade pact with China, bring our jobs back home. We'd have a balanced budge4t in less than 3 years time.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  71. Rockne Onstad

    eliminate income tax deductions for contributions to religious organizations and tax the income and property of religious organizations. The present system violates the consitutional separation of church and state. The state supports religious organizations by not taxing them, and by giving donors tax breaks.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  72. Annie, Atlanta

    Serious deficit reduction, while waging 3 wars in the middle of a depression? This is right wing scare tactics – shock doctrine? Got to keep those “slobs” in line, so scare them, and their little kids, too. Republicans run up deficits with abandon and then blame it on those evil tax and spend liberals. And the media runs with the urgency of it. Why wasn’t it urgent when the GOP was in charge and doing this to us?

    What about Wall Street’s gambling, keeping their winnings and socializing their losses? How much did the Fed funnel to them, $1 Trillion, $2 Trillion, so they can turn around and reward themselves with billions in bonuses? And then we give them more tax breaks.

    Is this all about who funds campaigns? How about the President needing $1 Billion dollars to keep a $400,000 a year job? And don't get me started on the military industrial complex. Why are we still employing Blackwater? Who do they own in Congress? The White House?

    Why are we not talking about loss of tax revenue? Tax cuts for the rich are no problem, it’s those greedy teachers and senior citizens that are milking us dry? It's common knowledge (not). What about no taxes for mega corporations or those who ship our jobs overseas, causing a huge loss of revenue? Or taxpayer subsidies for the richest corporations in the history of the world? The GOP says none of this adds to the deficit. Do they think we’re all as ignorant as their base?

    But no, it’s deficits, and now that there’s a Democrat in the White House, and the GOP let the birchers in, it’s the only thing that matters. That and more or permanent tax breaks for the rich, and the hell with seniors, the poor, the disabled, our veterans who are living on the streets. They can all just drop dead? Is that it? This is obscene, what we’ve become. God help us.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  73. stevie B

    The only way the world will take US budget cutting seriously, and cuts made in time for the debt limit ceiling strike, is for that spring break to be trimmed.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  74. Joe CE

    When Clinton was in office, the perviously accumulated looked as big and unsolveable as the present. But with the economy humming, we reached a point when the end of the deficit seemed at hand. The key to defici reduction is a booming economy not one one smothered by big budget cuts. If w every achiebe this we need to acf with intelligence reduce the deficit and get the Budget balanced and maintained balanced. Big cuts are a non-solution.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  75. Ryan Bohleman

    The argument is always turned to blame working people for our countries financial woes rather then the reality which is this country is run by and for wealthy corporations and its owners. Big tax cuts for the rich, while we cut workers paid benefits (which are incorrectly called entitlements) like health insurance ($5,000.00 deductables), unemployement, social security, all paid for by workers sweet. Wealthy people love watching social security get cut because theyd on't use it, its chump change to the. And George Bush's unfunded Wars and tax cuts for teh rich which he BORROWED to pay for. The middle class is being gorged.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  76. Ken

    Reverse the Bush Tax Cuts, is it really that hard? They didn't perform as advertised, the only reason they passed is that they were supposed to sunset last year and they, the Iraq war and the Republican congress and rubber stamp presidency that spent like sailors on shore leave is why we are here. Clinton was paying down the very same debt that the Tea Party is now so exercised about and dead sure that Obama caused.

    Really, tax cuts for the wealthy and reduced services for the poor and middle class? The wealthy are not the "job creators." The middle and lower classes produce more of the economic demand that is the only real thing that ultimately drives any economy forward in a sustainable manner. Tax cuts for the "Job Creators?" Give me a break, we tried that in the 80's and then again in the 00's, how many times do we need to bang our head with a hammer right between the eyes before we figure out that it probably isn't a good thing?

    April 11, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  77. Mark B.

    Just read the book of Proverbs by David's son, King Soloman.
    The debtor is the slave to the lender. Nothing has changed since that was written thousands of years ago. Will we never learn?

    April 11, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  78. Richard

    I think the only "justice" that will come of this and act as a great neutralizer over the long term is denying entitlement benefits to certain generations. The future generations can't foot the bill for eternity.
    Therefore, the answer is obvious: raise taxes on everyone (though start with the rich who have benefited the most.) AND cut benefits on people who are starting to retire now. After all, they are the ones who got us into this mess in the last 30 years.

    It's not about any of the class-warfare garbage we hear on the news. It's about paying your way. And Americans haven't been paying their way since Reagan took office. Simply put, it costs something to live in a civilized country – and we've been a society of takers for far too long. Someone has to pay! It can't all be tax breaks and deficit spending.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  79. Willie

    It won't get better until the high level lobbying stops. Too many give-aways in the tax code. So they make this a polical hot potato, a contest to mash the other party's spuds. Meanwhile the rich and large corparations are enjoying the gravy.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  80. John Weatherly

    Serious deficit reduction has to be accomplished by serious people and we are in a period where sound bites is all that is being offered by the legislative branch. Political posturing will continue through the next election cycle and we will hear all kinds of wing nut ideas on how tax breaks will solve everything.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  81. Mike

    Start with cutting the military. Why are we spending so much money on planes like the F-22 but are afraid to use them because they are too expensive to risk? Quit trying to cut something that is less that one-hundredth of a percent of the budget to try to make a political splash.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  82. phil

    Neither the American people nor its do-nothing Congress has the will to do what has to be done.

    Phil Vaughan
    Gilmanton, NH

    April 11, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  83. Kevin Lunenburg MA

    Maybe someone should take the kids in the capitol and tell them to stop calling the other side a bunch of Bozos for openers. Then they should remind the people that we did this before way back in the 1990's. We took the bitter pill of tax increases, spending cuts to "social" programs and the military. Then the economy improved, the federal budget started looking better and we were all happy. That seemed to work out, maybe we should try it again. After all what we've been doing since hasn't worked out too well.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  84. Joe Morella

    Poeple forget how we got to this point, it starts with 2 wars that Bush started and 100 billion dollars in dealt and growing. The GOP don't want to remember that little issue.

    You can not go to war without increasing taxes or go broke, now we are broke.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  85. David in Indiana

    Jack, I love your part of this show. The citizens of the USA clearly get it but the politicians we put in DC sure must not. First, it is the duty of congress to control the purse-strings and pass budgets. The White House seems to contribute little to the process so lets keep the executive branch out of it. Secondly, the only way to remove politics and political agendas from this process is to simply pass a percentage reduction in spending that is the same in every department. Across the board cuts. They will figure it out the same way any organization faced with the same catastrophe would. As long as there is any lobbying for specific programs or expenditures or conversely, to cut budget items to fulfill a political agenda, then we will be at a standstill. Start with 5% and work incrementally from there.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  86. Dawn Robbins

    I support cuts in health benefits for all Americans now, along with gradual cuts in social security to make that program solvent in the long term. I also support significant cuts for defense. Everyone must start to take responsibility for our problems. And, no more tax breaks for anyone. Finally, no more subsidies for agriculture or oil companies. Thats my program. Spread out the pain.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  87. Jo Ann in Arkansas

    Perhaps our entitled Congress will move toward eliminating entitlement programs, so those of us who literally depend on medicare, medicaid, and heaven forbid–social security–will feel the squeeze as they try to clamp down and bleed the ole turnip dry. If this is the case, many will die and then we won't have a problem. Population numbers will be down and the rich will sit back and pat themselves on the back and say, "Job Well Done!"

    Jo Ann in Jonesboro Arkansas

    April 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  88. Jim from Charlottesville, VA

    Our government needs to stop sending jobs overseas itself. I asked several leaders of the Democratic Committee of the Virginia 7th district yesterday who is the largest exporter of jobs in this country. They all said GE, Apple, etc. The answer is the US government. In the last 20 years through the BRAC program, we have closed over 100 military bases in this country while expanding oversea. Every dime that we spend overseas, is a dime that is not helping the US economy. The Republicans want to talk about fiscal responsibility and accountability to the tax payer? How about ensuring that every dime that the government does spend, is spent in the interests of America.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  89. Kathie from California

    What is missing in this deficit picture is that there are two factors in the equation and only one is being considered: Cuts in spending. The dialogue needs to turn immediately to increasing revenue. This country is not broke, we have debt. How do we decrease debt? Pay it off. To do that, we need revenue! So, how about we increase the tax rate on the super wealthy to the levels under Eisenhower? Or Clinton for that matter?

    April 11, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  90. John in LR

    The only way to seriously get the debt under control is to recognize how we got here: too many breaks for rich tax-payers, stealing from entitlement programs to give the rich their tax breaks, and lobbying from the rich to keep their money and get even more tax breaks. Why not make tax breaks for the wealthy tied specifically to how many jobs per month they create...then I might buy that tax breaks for wealthy = job creation argument.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  91. Lucullus

    You want to cut the deficit? Get out of Iraq. Get out of Afganistan. Kill the Bush tax cuts, bring the troops home from Europe and Japan, end corporate subsidies and tax the same corporations. And then tax the other 53% of American who don't pay taxes. We could do this if we had the will but unfortunately in D.C. we have a choice of the Jack Boot Right who cares nothing for the average American and the weenie Democrats who refuse to stand up for anything.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  92. Mark in Michigan

    Back in 1779, the billionaires of this new nation ante'd up paid for the war for independence. The billionaires of their time were true Americans, some even going broke to pay troops. Our yet-to-be-Nation had no money. Many of these billionaires even sacrificed by serving and their sons served as well. Now the billionaires are a bunch of patsy, white, spineless sub-humans who only care to take and take. No wonder, the war between rich and poor is coming soon. A new war for independence–from the billionaires!

    April 11, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  93. Jim in Alabama

    You can bet if the Republicans have their way, all Social Safety network programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Family Planning and even infrastructure funds and education will take the hits rather than the wealthy and priviliged. That's the republican way. Americans are going to wake up and realize just WHO is getting cut and WHO is NOT and they're not going to be happy campers.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  94. David Hall

    Everyone is acting like "half a loaf" would be such a bad thing. The flip side to the scorched-earth Republican slash and burn remedy might be some rational, yet significant cuts now and some binding agreement to continue them long enough to regain some altitude and airspeed....but that would require discipline and adult supervision; something we obviously don't have. I just get wary whenever some half-baked Republicans insist that we all hold hands and act like Butch Cassidy.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  95. Eyes in Illinois

    Our esteemed elected officials in both Congress and Senate need to be on the same Healthcare plan as is available to all citizens. Also, all of their benefits (including pensions) need to be re-evaluated. The wealthy need to pay a higher rate of tax than 25%. Corporations should pay taxes as well. Their needs to be a tax and not a tax break for moving business/ corporations out of USA.

    The Republicans need to align themselves with the people (main street) and not big business (like the Koch brothers).

    April 11, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  96. Dale

    Reducing the Federal deficit involves both REASONABLE cuts and raising revenue. End all the corporate loopholes and tax the upper income bastards properly and things will remarkably balance!

    April 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  97. Mike M


    Maybe we ought to go on a military freeze rather than a spending freeze. The US spends more on its military than all other nations combined. Ike warned us about this and boy was he ever right. Lets attack spending by cutting the military and closing corporate tax loopholes. Having the top 1% pay their fair share wouldn't hurt either. I realize that medicare and social security needs some adjustment, but let's look at a bigger solution than just going after entitlements.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  98. Ron Lambert


    Serious debt reduction will be acomplished only when our government has no other choice but to do so. It will take a massive impending catastrophe to startle the dodo birds working in washington into cooperative action. and even then they are likely to overreact and curtail some of these pesky freedoms I have grown accustomed to in the process of averting said impending doom.

    Miami, Fl.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm |

    Serious Debt Reduction:
    1) Close HALF the Military Bases around the World immediately.
    2) 3 tiered FLAT TAX

    April 11, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  100. Nathan, Iowa


    It'll take a miracle to get it done, or at least done right, which would involve major cuts as well as tax increases. Let tax rates from the Bush cuts expire and make the proper reforms necessary to SS, Medicare and the tax code. We could right the sinking ship very quickly with everyone doing their fair share, rather than parties only proposing cuts to the other.

    Of course none of that will ever happen with the suits we have in Washington, but it's becoming more clear to most sane people what is going to HAVE to happen. Whether or not our credit rating drops first will be the fun part.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  101. R. A. Williamson (Danville, CA)

    Serious adjustments to address our deficit is absolutely impossible with the crop of career politicians. For We the People to get serious we need to demand three changes: Corporations are NOT part of We the People, term limits need to apply to all (including SCOUS), and all our elected officials need to belong to social security and health coverage EXACTLY like We the People are.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  102. james in greenville nc

    Serious debt reduction will come to the forefront when we are all standing in the soup line.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  103. steveb1956

    without congress really enjoined it will take one of two possible scenarios, 1 we default on our debt.
    2 our currency will be so devalued that no one will accept it as payment.

    Auburn IN

    April 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  104. Mark Gerrard

    A deficit reduction will only occur when the governemment stops helping other countries that can't afford or are unwilling to repay us , cut spending on useless wars and cut the amount of money that congressmen and senators get paid for doing nothing. If they are not in Washington they shouldn't get paid!

    April 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  105. Philip Hades

    The shutdown threat had NOTHING to do with cutting the budget and everything to do with the far right wing social agenda. The republicans wanted to roll back women's health care and environmental protections to the 1800s. Democrats and a very large chunk of Americans disagreed.

    If we want to talk about the budget let's talk about the budget. But putting 800,000 fed workers out of work because you don't like women, NPR and clean air is NOT talking about the budget.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  106. RonC

    They need to take care of over spending on the military budget. They need to have the rich pay more. Why do the rich need medicare? They can afford their own health insurance. Also if some of the rich when they are retired, their income is still 100,000 or more why do they need social security. Why do they need to hurt the poor and average Joe?

    April 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  107. David from Indiana

    Ask again in 4 years, or maybe 8.

    The Democratic Party (mainly President Obama) are not interested in serious deficit reduction.

    The Tea Party is interested only in lowering taxes and getting rid of NPR.

    Maybe in 4 or 8 years a a third party will form that can form that represents the boring middle common sense but actually would work solution to our problems.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  108. JB

    Just cut everything 10% (yes everything, including the military, medicare, medicaid etc) and let the people who run those groups figure out how to make that work – I bet they can. Why are we debating endlessly about which programs to cut and what to keep? Take the politics out of it and let the program managers do their job – just like all businesses had to do in 2008.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  109. Carl Damm

    It will not. Republicans insist on giving themselves and their corporate supporters tax breaks, whilst Democrats spend to garnish their support. Meanwhile, Republicans are always for reigning in spending until they are the ones at the helm, see George W. Bush. If we are going to change our course, we need to increase taxes on the wealthy, cut spending, and make the programs that society relys on like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid more efficiant. All sides have to give, and then on top of that we need a little innovation. It doesn't seem like our current representitives are up to the task.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  110. Sam C

    Alpharetta, Ga
    Hard to believe that a little over 10 years ago there was a balanced budget and we were paying down the deficit. They could start by repealing the Bush/Obama tax giveaway

    April 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  111. Dave T.

    It's likely that the deficit will never seriously be addressed–as both parties of Obama and Bush have proven. What will happen is eventually interest rates will increase and the gov't will not be able to afford to borrow to meet it's 'minimum payments' on the debt. The Federal Reserve will come to the rescue and monetize the debt by printing money (inflating the money supply) and purchasing treasuries. When the Fed prints the money to monetize the debt grandma and grandpa will still receive their Social Security check as promised but they won't be able to buy anything with it because the inflation of the money supply will push prices out of reach. Look around you–this is happening right now.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  112. john in cal

    Military spending is at an all time high, Why? Surely we can cut their budget. Then we need to cut out all the little add ons that congress loves(pork). Next they can take a cut in their own salary and lose some of all those helpers. Next bring troops from overseas home and stop playing enforcer- that's the UN job. Get rid of all donations and lobbiest in Washington as that certainly causes our elected heros to buy things we don't need. and Last put all government employees onto a one payer medicare health system, and yes that includes our elected heros. That should help to reduce the budget somewhat.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  113. Gerald Matthews

    The budget deficits and the national debt will not be cut successfully by our government now or in the near future. The divisions between the parties is too great and neither of the parties and none of the public sector is willing to pay the price in suffering and higher taxes.

    So Congress and the President will continue to raise the debt ceiling and borrow money until we reach a level at which the sky falls (and I don't even know how to define that fall). At that time, I can't foresee all the international and market consequences, but they are going to be extremely severe. We may have to declare national bankruptcy.

    Sorry to be a pessimist, but what we're doing is human nature. We'll keep maxing out our credit cards until we go into default.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  114. Vaughn Nybakken

    Nothing will ever change until we are totally bankrupt as a nation. Both sides of the isle are guilty as charged with runaway spending. Their main goal is to save their own Cadillac healthcare plans, their generous pensions, taking as much borrowed or tax payer money for their earmarks they seem to need and not doing anything to bring the countries finances under control. This is insane.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm |

    Have ALL persons/corporations that paid NO taxes during last 3 years send in to the US Government $10,000 each or have the IRS audit the last 10 years of their books line by line. Deficit would be wiped out overnight.
    Don Sutton
    Long Beach California

    April 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  116. Paul

    I believe we're on the cusp of a dialogue to seriously address the problem. When we'll see real action though, is anyones guess. It'll likely take economic collapse staring lawmakers directly in the face to finally convince the Dems that entitlement programs need to be rethought and scaled back and the GOP that perhaps increasing taxes, especially for the wealthy, will not cause the sky to fall.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  117. keeth in cali

    When money no longer equals free speech, then our representatives will work for the people, not the corporations and the rich who enjoy subsidies and tax loopholes.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  118. Jim West

    Deficit spending is when spending exceeds revenue.
    All the Republicans have been willing to do is cut spending.
    Our defiicit is as much a revenue problem as a spending problem, but the people and corporations that fund the Republican Party only want us to think that this is a spending problem.
    When cutting programs to help the less fortunate in our country is more attractive than raising taxes on millionaires and closing tax loopholes on corporations, then we have really lost a large amount of of compassion and morality.
    The idea that children should do without headstart, or a school lunch, so millionaires can buy a thrid home or a second yacht is simply wrong.
    In life I have been both a Republican and a Democrat, today I wish we had a thrid party.
    While the Republican's demands are unconsciencable, the Democrat's defense has been pathetic.
    I'm not sure President Obama should run as a Republican or a Democrat in the next election.
    As a negotiator, he has failed defend the American people.
    Instead, President Obama has negotiated away his ideals for quick political deals, and in the end has failed us.
    While I agree that compromise is necessary in a Democracy, at some point President Obama should stand up for something besides tax breaks for millionaires and taking funding away from medicare and medicaid.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  119. David - Cleveland, OH

    Only when we eliminate all of the rhetoric, and tell the American people the complete truth. We have two opposing directions that divide this country: big Federal government (including entitlements) and small Federal government (limited or few entitlements). Each of these directions have to be fully vetted by independent parties with the American people so that everyone understands the issues and finances, both short-term and long-term. The American people, particularly those under 50 need to have a loud voice in the decision. The American people need to speak, not those in Congress or the President.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  120. Dave T. ; Gibson City, IL

    It's likely that the deficit will never seriously be addressed–as both parties of Obama and Bush have proven. What will happen is eventually interest rates will increase and the gov't will not be able to afford to borrow to meet it's 'minimum payments' on the debt. The Federal Reserve will come to the rescue and monetize the debt by printing money (inflating the money supply) and purchasing treasuries. When the Fed prints the money to monetize the debt grandma and grandpa will still receive their Social Security check as promised but they won't be able to buy anything with it because the inflation of the money supply will push prices out of reach. Look around you–this is happening right now.

    Dave T.
    Gibson City, IL

    April 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  121. Fred Gottesman

    Deficit reductions can be achieved when most of the subsides for agricultural products and natural resources like oil are ended. There is no reason on earth to guarantee the profits of Exxon and Con Agra, especially when we are in the financial shape we are in. Also raising the fees for Federal Land use. But the politicians got there with the help of these companies therefore it won't happen. So, they'll cut a few more programs for the poor and the middle -class and call it a day.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  122. Joe Tyrrell

    This is not a duplicate.

    Whhen Clinton was in office, the economy finally got rolling, we got close to wiping out the national debtt which looked insurmountable. The key to meaningful debr & deficit reduction is to get the economy going – not slow it by large Budget cuts. If we ever get back to that point we need to wipe the debt out and maintain a balanced Budget. Since it is easier to spend than saxe suggest a Balanced Budget Act

    April 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  123. Ralph Nelson

    1. Raise taxes on the rich; 2. Stop Big Business from exporting tax revenue overseas to avoid paying taxes; 3. Freeze government spending for 5 years; 4. Raise the retirement age two years; 5. Grow the economy by redirecting tax cuts to the Middle Class; Outlaw "Supplyside Economics" (Laizz Faire and Reagonomics); 6. Eliminate the Republican Party (source of the debt problem); 7. Require members of Congress study Economics 210 and 220, Micro and Macro Economic Theory and past a test.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  124. Julie Rainwater

    Obviously the wealthy are going to have to contribute to the government that allowed them to prosper. I'm tired of the Republicans crying for fiscal responsibility from the backseat. They were spenders of the nth degree just three short years ago. The working people have no more left to give. We are stretched to the limit. We need to get real, take our time, and tax according to a capitalist economy. When you benefit from an economy, you need to pay your share to the government to keep it healthy.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  125. McCain-in-4

    Real debt reduction occurs once Congress is serious about informing their citizens. We have such wonderful tools, graphics, and specialists who can clearly convey very complicated stuff. Unfortunately, Congress believes it is better to stitch together a small forest. Sad to say, the IRS is far more serious in collect taxes than Congress is about explaining them.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  126. BW

    It seems serious debt reduction actions will only happen when the USA goes through a serious government debt crisis like those recently experienced in some parts of Europe. Remember, the government is mostly an extension of the American people. We mostly take the paths of least resistance on our debt therefore our government will also take the paths of least resistance on government debt. Many of us only change our philosophy when we experience a crisis or terrible event. Our government is the same way.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  127. BIll in VA

    I think a good start to serious deficit reduction will have to come from the people. Just to be safe we should look at the current crop of legislators. Anyone who was an incumbent on 12/31/2010 should be voted out and allow for new blood who is anti spending because that is the real problem. We would have to give anyone new to congress in the last election time. Of course that won't happen but a new mindset is clearly needed.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  128. MK

    How about ending the war on drugs, which since it's beginning has used up about as much money as the the size of the national debt and produced nothing of value to anyone. This war has lead to the incarceration of potentially productive individuals, at cost to you and me, and has empowered dangerous criminals, increasing the amount of spending necessary to enforce our border policies. Further, the war has indirect costs of lost tax revenue from a potential industry as well as jobs and economic growth. If the war on drugs was ended tomorrow, this would address a significant amount of the budget gap in the near future, and may prevent the need to cut entitlements that people work hard their whole lives to earn.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  129. Howard in Madison

    Democrats don't want to cut spending and Republicans don't want to increase taxes. They should work together to reduce spending and raising revenues on a one-to-one basis. If there's going to be less funding from the government affecting services for the most vulnerable in our society, then there should be increased taxes on the wealthy as well. This means we cut half the spending we need to to balance the budget, and raise taxes by half to do the same.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  130. Dave, Orlando, FL

    The only way serious reductions will get made is if we get a serious Congress, but that will never happen. A serious Congress will defund all three needless, pointless, senseless wars, close most of our military bases around the world, make sure big corporations and the wealthy pay a fair share of taxes, end corporate welfare to profitable agribusiness and oil companies (i.e. all of them), heavily tax companies that ship jobs overseas – well you get the picture. We can no longer beat the middle class into the pavement by forcing them to pull a wagon full of freeloaders in which more and more freeloaders take a seat. The wagon is too full to pull.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  131. mike

    You cannot make serious decisions when you are not affected by them. If the Congress and Senate had to live on Social Security and Medicare then they would have a stake in the programs and do what was necessary to run them correctly. Make it law that Congress must have the same benefits as the rest of us.

    Tort reform is a must to reduce deficits. The courts are overwhelmed with cases. In Florida over 8000 fender bender lawsuits are filed daily. Average dollar figure won is $2400. The average lawyers fee billed to the insurance company or state when the defendant has no coverage $60,000-$140,000. How much money can be saved if the county, State and federal courts were not buried by this fraud. one lawyer billed on a 25 hour day.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  132. MikeLR

    The progressives have had a century to evolve a mindset in americans that the government is the answer to all problems. If you need money go to the government. If you need medical care go to the government. If you need anything go to the government. That mindset costs too much. However, the progressives have intended this result so that urgency will beget more control for government.

    The only way to reduce the debt incurred since 1789 and by all presidents is to reduce whole departments of the government which fail continually and reduce entitlements. Reducing tax loopholes and reducing tax rates will do much also.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  133. MikeM

    The first thing is to stop lying. The conversion of Medicare to private insurance is just a way to increase what we pay. But the GOP says "no new taxes." What else is this but a tax? The extra money just goes to insurance companies, rather than going to balance the budget.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  134. mf in richmond virginia

    A realistic plan has to include both tax increases and spending cuts. As long as both sides claim only one of these can do, there will be no real progress, until perhaps US$ is in a freefall. In the longer run, tax code needs to be overhauled. Corporations have to pay tax on sales as a market access fee, partly rebated for labor costs if their employees pay taxes in the US. Corporate income tax seems outdated, as it is increasingly uncollectable. Tax structure should be shifted more towards taxing consumption, less towards taxing income, to encourage savings. Democratic Party needs to acknowledge that Social Security Trust Fund is a fiction, and thus there is a SS problem right now, not in a distant future. SS needs to be a "pay as you go" program. Republicans need to acknowledge that private health care delivery is so full of rent seeking, that making health care system more private can only make the crisis worse. Everyone needs to acknowledge that we all die in the end, and super expensive end of life care has to be rationed.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  135. Mark from Louisiana

    Jack, every American needs to share the burden of reducing our debt. We can't expect the successful people in America to do it all, they pay much more than their fair share already.
    We should eliminate income tax and go to a national sales tax, that is fair because the more you buy, the more you pay.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  136. emb

    I don't think it is fair to raise taxes on people making over $250k per year. Many people that I know in this salary range are still paying off their own student loans, saving for their kids future college tuitions, raising families and work 50+ hours a week. Lets put limits on welfare programs and force people to make their own lives better and not rely on the government to do it for them. The wealthy pay most of the taxes in this country anyway, why should they have to keep paying more and everyone else pays less. We should have a % based tax system in which we all pay the same % with no deductions. Make it simple. Lets try something new for a change. What we are doing now obvioulsy is not working.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  137. Steve

    The voters are going have to demand it, every day and understand that means their favorite program is going to change.


    April 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  138. Anna48

    Only one way, Jack. Get the States to amend the constitution to abolish the Congress and turn the Capitol Building into a Day Care Center. We'll save all the money we spend on Congress, we'll collect money for day care, and we're not likely to notice the difference.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  139. Sachin


    Like you have said so many times, "Privatization". Eliminate medicare, medicaid and social security (I am paying but will not get in my life time),


    April 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  140. Brian in GA

    Jack, pretty simple....spending needs to drop and revenues need to rise. The trick is doing this fairly and without crippling the economic rebound. I think a national sales tax dedicated to paying down the debt is the fairest (you consume, you pay), along with fixing the tax code, strategic spending cuts, and elimination of fraud throughout is the way to go.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  141. Art

    I love low taxes just like the other guys, but this ia a problem we got into by spending while giving ourselves tax cuts. The only way in my mind to get out of this is to cut spending and raise taxes. We created the bills now we have to pay them.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  142. Edward Sullivan

    The problem is that everybody wants a balanced budget as long as somebody ELSE makes all the sacrifices. That is the problem.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  143. Richard

    Unfortunately, slashing the budget like corn stocks in Iowa doesn't take into consideration the empty field it creates. Spending is what's keeping our economy afloat right now, and each item that gets cut needs to be considered in terms of the number of jobs it creates or loses.

    It's probably too much to ask, but wouldn't it be lovely if all the zealots screaming for cuts actually understood the fundamental economics of a recovery?

    April 11, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  144. Art in Jackson, SC

    I love low taxes just like the other guys, but this ia a problem we got into by spending while giving ourselves tax cuts. The only way in my mind to get out of this is to cut spending and raise taxes. We created the bills now we have to pay them.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  145. Mike M

    Congress will get serious about actually working to improve our nation and economy when their jobs are aligned with the general public around medical benefits & retirement plans and we reinstitue term limits.
    Long ago most of the artifacts currently serving lost the vision that the intent of the job was public service. It has become a career with benefits none want to lose as such they make decisions that keep them in office not what is good for the country.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  146. vol_socal

    Pick a number. Say, one trillion. The Democrats get to decide on 500 billion in cuts and the Republicans get to cut another 500 billion. Both agree to vote for the other side's cuts. Let the next election decide who did a better job.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  147. alan crowell

    most people who clammer for cost or deficit reduction have no idea what they are talking about. one thing for sure they don't want anything cut that will directly effect them. therein lies the problem. cutting costs means cutting jobs..there is no way to sugarcoat that. if the government spends/buys less there are less people needed to produce whatever goods or services they do buy. The only is to cut everything by a %. Period!! Whether it is 5% or 10% or more everything must be cut. That is the only way to avoid partisan politics and the refusal to cut what you like or an item from someone who gives you lots of money.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  148. Mike Beemer

    When Americans march on Washington and demand change. Short of that, a coup d'etat. (Which I am not advocating) Since we're moving toward Socialism, perhaps we should import some Bolsheviks from Russia-simply as advisors, of course.

    Belton, TX

    April 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  149. Ken in NC

    Real deficit reduction can only take place if women are in charge. A man and wife both work abd put their checks in one account and wife pays the bills and keeps the family straight financially. Fill Congress with all women.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  150. Chris. Hillsborough, NJ

    Simply put: we won’t. Members of Congress will always side with their parties for fear of looking “weak” to the voters. As we've seen, when this is the case, compromising, especially for serious deficit reductions, is near impossible when both parties are so torn.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  151. Mike from Lorain, Ohio

    In order to solve our deficit and debt problem, we need to do two main things – raise taxes AND cut spending. Simply cutting spending or raising taxes is not a long term solution.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  152. Gosh Kruse

    Representative Ryan proposed using a voucher system for Medicare to encourage a free market system to lower costs. However as he certainly is aware, medical care is not subject to a free market system – hence the joke. The number of health practitioners, in particular doctors, is carefully regulated in this country by the medical profession. Over the last thirty years the number of doctors has increased barely 20%, but the population nearly doubled. People do not compare the price a doctor charges, but only the price of insurance coverage. Seriously, who opts for the cheapest coverage available? Until there is an ample supply of medical care, costs will continue to surge out of control.

    If costs are to go down, one must increase the supply. Simply create more medical schools and educate more doctors. There is an overly abundant supply of young smart people waiting in line to learn. The cost of the facilities, staff and the student tuition would quickly be offset by the savings in health care. Imagine creating doctors who do it because they love the profession as opposed to those who wish to retire wealthy by age 50. This would also address the critical shortage of MDs in research. Costs would go down and health care would improve.

    A good idea, but unfortunately the current medical profession has a stranglehold around our politicians. It would be sacrilegious for any politician to threaten the revenue stream of our doctors.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  153. Chris Coniam in Connecticut

    There is no political will do do anything serious about our nation's debt. The government will continue to do the easy thing which is to keep borrowing and printing money. And once they can't borrow any more money, they will keep printing. An once they can't print any more money ... they will keep printing ...

    April 11, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  154. Denzil Edge

    Dear Jack,

    May I call you Jack. I have watched and listened to your programs for so long that it seems that I know you.

    It seems to me that we have lost the art of statesmanship in the US. I would like to see great leadership by both political parties; rather than posturing on positions for political points. Our country is as much threatened today with its financial crisis than it was during WW II (And, I had brothers killed in action in both WW II and Korea). We are drifting toward the land of no-return, and it does not seem that anyone is in charge. I want to see cooperation by both parties, and a Marshall Plan to get this country back to work and back to finanical stability. I want to see a plan to produce products in the US. Our greatest time may be behind us soon...unless, we can get our politicans to cooperate and to lead. I pray for our country. Thank you for your fair reporting. Denzil Edge

    April 11, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  155. Melanie

    We all must suffer to fix it. ALL OF US. Tax rates on all go up and expenses are cut the same percentage across the board. It is basic math. But are all of us willing to make the sacrifices necessary? At least from the vantage point of the stories the media emphasizes, we are not. And America cannot be truly great unless we share the sacrifice from the rich and poor to the large corporations and small business to the liberals and the conservatives. We all must suffer to fix what We the People allowed our government to do.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  156. Kathleen Parker , South Carolina

    Serious budget reduction will only occur when the people of this country learn to think for themselves and stop responding to sound bites. If the budget were simple enough to be summed up in a 30 second phrase, we wouldn't have a problem. Everyone has to have a dog in this hunt; you take some program cuts for some groups and some tax increases from others. We are one country and we are going to have to figure out a way that half of us win some things and half win some other things or we will most assuredly all lose what makes this country great.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  157. Dorothy M Ragland

    Through all this frightening days of congressional failure to find a way to cut the cost of government did anyone hear ONE word about weeding out, policing, punishing those who are really making a BIG dent in spending. The cheating seems to trickle down from the high end to the low end. Are "entitlements" from a protected trust or a pocket where all can "borrow" from them? What we need is honesty. Ain' gonna happen!

    April 11, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  158. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    As long as we have two parties whose energy and focus is spent trying to dominate each other, no serious debt relief can ever happen.

    As I see it these absolute ideologies can only lead to bankruptcy, which I guess is debt relief. Every great empire was fell by the ego and self gratification of man, and this one will be no different.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  159. Stefan Stackhouse (Black Mountain, NC)

    Unfortunately, the real cutting won't happen until we are in the midst of a real fiscal crisis. I am talking about the type of crisis where interest becomes not just the biggest slice of the pie, but close to the entire pie. I am talking about the type of crisis where we won't need to argue about raising the debt limit, because nobody is willing to lend us enough to even roll over the debt we already have. I am talking about the type of crisis where if we can't avoid a default, we can forget about borrowing again in our lifetime, or buying anything from overseas with dollars – things like oil, for example. It has happened elsewhere, and yes, it can happen here.

    If people think that the types of cuts that are being talked about now are painful, just wait until we get painted into THAT corner!

    April 11, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  160. Mike

    In order for the deficit to be addressed seriously we need to do what Bill Clinton was chastized for, but what ultimately balanced the budget.

    We need to increase revenues (yep....tax rates need to rise on the wealthy), we need to cut spending an equal amount (yep...this includes the Pentagon), and we need to cut tax loopholes for big business.

    When this happens, we will again look like we have our financial house in order and money will stream into the country instead of out of the country. The economy will grow and, hence, revenues will grow. The budget will balance and then we will elect another Bush to undo the whole damn thing.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  161. vin

    Stop all war expenses. Cut the Defense budget to no more than 200 billion a year inclusive of all cost. Audit all DD expenses. All DD purchases must be fixed cost. Reduce all elected officials payments by 60 % and eventually it should be no more than 5 time the poverty line.
    All elected officials must be paid per our basis based on time actually spent in the sessions.
    All taxes must as per one simple rule. No deductions for income above 100000 a year.
    Slabbed taxes as existed before Regan changed it. Any one above 1 million should be taxed at 60 %.
    Every company which contributes to deficit should pay deficit-tax based on the deficit amount generated and should be given time line to make it balanced.
    All subsidies and other give aways should be totally stopped.
    All foreign aid by government of private non-profit should be discontinued and that must be channeled to USA citizens in need (Which now number in millions).

    April 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  162. Jeff in San Diego

    To curb spending and get the debt under control we have to look at the cost/benefit of every department of the government – Social Security, Medicare and defense especially. Social Security and Medicare need to be reformed – most likely by raising the retirement age and the age that Medicare kicks in. Defense needs to be scaled way back. We are surrounded by two oceans and two friendly countries. We also have an armed populace, which means the chances of another country invading and occupying the USA are nil. The amount we spend on defense is far greater than our actual needs of defending our shores. Cut defense, reform entitlements, end tax loopholes and raise some income tax (probably higher than the $250,000 a year that Obama wants maybe $500,000) and we will see our debt drop.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  163. Eric Horvath

    Any cut in the federal deficit will be painful but necessary for all citizens. Old, young, poor and rich. Taxes – not only on the rich but everyone – for individual and corporations will need to be raised and loopholes and shelters eliminated. Cut will be required in Defence, Medicare, Medicade, and Social Security. But unless the elderly do not care about their children and grandchildren it will be necessary. An last but certainly not least the politicians will have to put the earplug in and forget about the poll numbers.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  164. Pat Hudgins

    You could start by paying the lawmakers, the President and all of their advisors what they are worth! Not much!
    Is this really still a Democracy, because to me it's looking more like a corporate, controlled, psuedo democracy.
    As long as the special interest of both Parties call the shots, good luck on stopping the pull of the big,black hole!

    April 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  165. Adele

    The tax breaks that the wealthy get that make their effective tax rate lower than that of the middle class should be addressed. But I don't think that the effective tax rate should be higher, either. Middle class and the wealthy should pay about the same rates.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  166. Tim

    Tell Congress they won't be paid until they come up with a balanced budget. Then it MIGHT happen! Pay for performance only, just like the rest of us!

    April 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  167. jeff in hawaii


    The only way serious debt reduction will occur is if we change the way Congress operates. We need to get Big Business and their shills (Congresspeople, Senators, and lobbiests) out of Government. How can the people of the U.S.A expect any relieif when we give tax breaks to corporations to send our jobs overseas to the very country that holds the majority of our debt. It is insane.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  168. George from Florida

    Deficit reduction will be done when the U.S. reaches the same financial crisis that Greece faced last year. If I recall correctly, ALL government workers took cuts in their salaries, pensions were cut, and taxes were raised.

    Only then, when ALL of Congress' hands are forced is when we'll see real action in reducing the national debt.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  169. Bob

    Get the federal government back to what it's supposed to do. 1) Protect the constitution 2) Build federal roads 3) Fund a military. Cut everything else. EVERYTHING! Let the individual states handle everything else.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  170. Walter Shmitt

    Stop the wars of choice. Tax everyone fairly, and since corporations are people in the eyes of the supreme court, tax them fairly too. But it is never going to happen.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  171. splashy

    The problem stems from the Bush tax cuts that were extended for the very wealthy. It's a real problem when the ones voting on that are the ones that will be taxed, and a good number are greedy, wanting more and more money for themselves without paying their way.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  172. Steve

    We had serious deficit reduction prior to the Bush tax cuts. There is always major waste of tax payer money going on all over the place, however, no serious reduction in the deficit is going to occur by only slashing budgets. Increased taxes need to be reinstated to those making over 250,000. Good luck though. With 7 of the top ten richest politicians being democrats who voted against increased taxes for the rich, it will be the same old bickering over chump change and making sure it is someone else who will suffer.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  173. David K

    Perhaps the the budget reduction program should be trashed and start a zero based budget and allocate funding based on need and justification to further an American objective. All of the bases for our budgets began over 60 years ago and make no sense with today's needs and objectives. Let's move away from the historical budgetary reasons and utilize practicalities of current times. For example, why do we need bases all over the world?

    April 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  174. John in California

    If the President sells out on Social Security , he's lost my my vote. Why? Because it'll be the last straw re all the broken promises from his campaign. So far he's proven to be a grade "A" liar.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  175. Mike in NJ

    Perhaps a second term President will 'sack up' and tell the American people, Congress, and the world how it is:
    Corporations and the rich ($5M+) need to pay their fair share for real (because they benefit more from what taxes give than the poor do)
    Congress will stop taking political contributions from corporations and pass laws to ensure they are not treated as 'persons'
    And the world will begin reimbursing the US if they want military protection from terrorists and their angry neighbors.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  176. VegasBob

    Politicians use government benefits to buy votes. Therefore, deficit reduction will not occur as long as the government can get away with borrowing or printing more money. It is that simple.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  177. SH in IL

    Serious budget reform will only happen when the American people realize that they hold the purse strings and vote the so called servants of the people from office. Make the threats a promise.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  178. Rick in California

    It never will be accomplished unless we do some things that nobody has even mentioned yet. First of all how about calling in the money we have loaned all the other countries over the years, and stop giving money to half the world when they hate our guts. Most importantly if they just bring the jobs back here the GDP will increase enough to eradicate a lot of the deficit. And of course stop spending 30 billion a month on wars. Of course nobody wants to talk about that. The fact is we are paying for George Bush's screw ups still. How did Bill Clinton's administration eradicate the deficit and give us a surplus? Why not give that methodology a shot?

    April 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  179. Scott Stodden

    It Will Never Be Accomplished Until Both Sides Of The Aisle Realize That In Order To Even Come Up With A Sensible Balanced Budget We're Going To Have To Make Dramatic Cuts, Stop Unneccessary Spending And Raise Taxes On The Rich Making $250,000 Or More A Year This Is The Ony Way We Can Even Begin To Fix Our Problem.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    April 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  180. Mark

    The only way is through a combination of tax increases and budget cuts. I amazed how many people on the left are misguided in thinking that the deficit can be eliminated through only taxing wealthier Americans. Unfortunately, everyone is going to have to feel pain. Personally, since everyone's solution is to hurt the other person, our deficit will never be reigned in and we will be headed for a Greece-like situation.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  181. Wesley, Statesville, NC

    The answer is simple Jack. The deficit or any other problem placed before congress for that matter cannot be fixed. Its not a problem with the system, its a problem with the people who make up the system. Want some real change or real solutions to the problems, then get all those over paid, under worked, fat cats, put them out in the street and elect some new people who havnt fell victim to " business as usual' in washington.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  182. Glen Wilson

    The first step to solving any problem is admitting there is a problem. The second step is dealing with facts, not emotions. I think a majority of our citizens are now acknowledging that a big problem exists. We now have to deal with real facts. The idea of repealing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy needs to be placed in the proper context. Elimination of those cuts reduces the deficit by about $75 billion per year and create marginal tax rates that are close to 40 percent. The deficit is $1.4 trillion. This means that everyone else will also have to contribute to solving this problem through spending cuts to programs that benefit them and/or higher taxes.

    The sooner we have an honest discussion about what needs to change, the sooner we can make progress on this matter.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  183. Gary

    If we in the U.S. want serious debt and deficit reduction all we have to do is outsource every senator and congressman to China. Soon we will be making stuff in America again while we watch the Chinese economy implode.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  184. Michael Armstrong Sr. Sherman Tx.

    Especially with a presidential election coming up neither side is going to want to look like a bad guy so this could be put off until after the 2012 election .

    April 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  185. Gigi Oregon

    When we the people get serious. When the Government leader say "the people say" they are not quoting us. Truly, they are brainwashing us into believing their propaganda. We the people I believe want Jobs, decent to better wages,. taxes paid by all Americans and not to be passed on to our grandchildren, the debt. We the people see these as threats from the selfish, greedy corporate America. and the rich wanting a tax cuts. And have given bribes to our government officals to recieve thesetax breaks. The only way there will be serious reductions is when, a new tax structure is adopted no later than this year, where everyone pays a flat tax. . And we the people need to remind them everyday with emails and every Monday we should dress in black to be visible with out a word spoken in the work place. Until we the people become the "true patriot" who believes we all pay taxes to make our country strong. We have to have revenue in order to have a strong America.

    A true Patriot pays his taxes. To make America strong. And wants justice and liberty for all. Not just the chosen few...

    Shame on the American government. That think that "WE THE PEOPLE" are not worthy and THEREFORE not respected.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  186. Marge Schrempf

    Serious budget cuts will never be made as long as the tea party minions, republicans and Democrats sit down and talk like adults. Take away their vacation, lock them in the capital and toss in food 3 times a day. Perhaps if they spent some time together – we all might see some progress instead of all the chest beating.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  187. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    We'll get deficit reduction when the people who claim to be "job creators" stop buying off politicians and actually use their money to create jobs in the USA.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  188. Ron, WA

    True deficit reduction will only come when the US defaults on our loans, our currency becomes worthless, loses our place in the world, accepts a bit of humility, & becomes willing to live within our means.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  189. Doyle Thomas

    All spending,military,social security, medicare etc must be reduced. perhaps tweaking the age for social security and medicare benefits
    \would help those programs. The tax codes must be reviewed, and taxes for the super wealthy and large corporations increased. Reconsider term limits, so that our government isn't beholden to campaign finances. Then our congress would be more free to vote on the real issues, not some political advantage

    April 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  190. Kriss Perras Running Waters

    Our founding fathers created an entire country, even with and maybe in spite of, their polarized views. They sat down and had a real debate over real issues and hammered the United States of America. Until the democrats and republicans, tea party extremists and all others who are trying to stop a logical and well structured debate in the halls of Congress, like that which was carried out by the founding fathers of our country, there will never be a serious deficit reduction. It will take compromises on both sides, which means nobody is going to get everything they want. If our elected leaders compromise and debate with the hammer of our founding fathers, we will all get something we want, which means a real solution will happen.

    Kriss Perras Running Waters

    April 11, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  191. bmrosen45

    The deficit unfortunately is often represent as just a very large number and not by the individual programs or segments of government it represents. The Republicans are correct we need to cut spending; but they never say for which programs or budgets they will reduce funding. Democrats never want to cut or reform the many social programs they want.

    The public debate, IMHO, needs to be focused on large spending programs and divisions of goverment. There is plenty of fat/waste that should be looked at first. This includes all the so called pork barrel project congress passes each year. As in most organizations is the people working at the lowest levels the know where the waste and inefficient spending is happening. They need to be empowered to help improve govenement. Lastely, the news media needs to actively investigate government and shine a bright light on what works and what does not.

    Flashing around big deficit numbers and scaring people that their favorite social program will be taken away is no way to fix this problem.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  192. Liam Bonnie

    Mr Cafferty,

    I respect you pointing out the absurdity of arguing over such a small percentage of the budget, most forget to point that out. But the question you posed today sort of stumped me.

    If the government has to come to a stand still to negotiate an 8 billion dollar swing, what would have to happen to fix the problem long term?

    The real question is what will we do when we finally admit the long term problem has no solution. Because there is no profit in solving it.

    The leaders of our nation are no different from the CEO's of our Corporations. Real Change only comes on the coat tails of real profit. If it won't sell, it won't sail.

    When I max out my credit, and my job doesn't paid well enough to pay it back, I declare bankruptcy. And so we will as a country.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  193. John Martin in Shoreline, WA

    These are all phony debates presented to divide and mislead Americans. The only way to restore fiscal responsibility, end the phony debates, and return to Constitutional principles, is to remove Democrats and Republicans from power. These two parties are entirely uninterested in Constitutional principles. They are too busy being uncompromising on their personal principles. This why why virtually every amendment in our Bill of Rights is violated on a routine basis in America. The "Patriot" Act alone violates at least three of them.

    Stop voting for them. It is the only way. Vote for Independent candidates interested in term limits and calling the Second Constitutional Convention. Let's end this Cold Civil War and turn our attention to our true enemies.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  194. Frankie

    Please note that the Democrats did not take up the debt ceiling issue last year because the Republicans would have wasted the entire time the Congress had left, in blocking this issue, even though the Democrats were willing to forego vacations if necessary. The Republicans have set a very slack work schedule in which they largely waste my time trying to pass measures that they know will be vetoed. I think it is high time that the Republicans stop pretending that they are speaking for "Americans."

    April 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  195. Elizabeth Barna

    To the Government: Take care of the United States first! Stop being big brother of the world! Repay the funds the government has taken from the Social Security Fund! Social Security is Not an entitlement – I for one have paid into it for 52 years! The only entitlement program is the government!

    April 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  196. Joshua Hilton

    Maybe if the congress and senate were threatened with their jobs like the rest of the country because of bad budgeting, Things might go in a more positive direction....If they can't fix the problems that have been here for years then maybe they don't deserve to play games with their politcal friends and get paid for it.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  197. Janiecakes

    The budget cannot be balanced by continuing to overtax the middle class and the poor while the rich go without paying their fair share of taxes. A person reads how these large conglomerates find all these tax loop holes and go without having to pay any taxes as well as these filthy rich people owe millions in back taxes. I think the government should start collecting all of this and perhaps it would shrink the deficit. It would also help by keeping our nose out of other countries problems and worry about our own.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  198. Dee, Topeka KS

    It won't. Not because it can't be done, of course it can. As the age old saying goes...right is right and wrong is wrong. Knowing what's right and doing what's right are two very different things. Until all of our country's elected officials start conducting business from their "hearts" and not their special interests...I'm afraid to say we'll be in debt until Jesus returns. And btw....for all the TEA partiers who want their country back....hang on...you're about to get it...boy are you about to get it. Mr. Bush should be called Mr. TEA Party....he Took Everything Away from the surplus he walked into.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  199. John

    2 week spring break? What is this High School?
    Give me a pot of coffee, a computer and I'll move to capitol Hill to do their jobs for them. And I'll do it for free.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  200. H @ Idaho

    How will serious deficit reduction ever be accomplished? It won't.


    April 11, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  201. ....Chaney..... La.

    We will not solve our dept problem as long as we allow politicians to divide us into REpubs and Dems......and not Americans...... they intentionally change the debate from anything substantive to some dumb social issue, in order to NOT do anything about really important issues......Spending has to be cut across all Government Agencies, and taxes have to be increased......period.....

    April 11, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  202. macdeb51

    Want congress to stop spending then let's not pay our taxes until we get the whole bunch of "children" out of there. They seem to forget they're working for us. They want us to tighten our belts yet they spend like there's no tomorrow.We should eliminate both parties since the bickering will never stop Both sides need to grow up! How embarrassing for us to show the world how well our government Really does work! Congress should really be ashamed of themselves.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  203. Frank

    Required debt reduction and restructuring of government and its overly broad policy power can only be accomplished by taxpayers personally and continually demanding our representatives to follow the will of the people. If not done, the President and Congress should be prepared for face to face revolution.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  204. Denney Collins

    Dear Jack,
    Are you kidding? It won't get done. We will limp down the road, barely doing just enough to keep the government afloat, while the country goes down the tubes. Those folks in Washington haven't gotten the message at the ballot box. Maybe it is going to take the masses taking to the streets before Congress and the administration get the idea that we really want them to do something.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  205. Vick, Orange Park , FL


    It will be in the dead of night. The people who would shut off pay to the rest of government but keep their pay allocated will sneak away in the dark after screwing seniors and the poor so they can keep the fat cats happy with their tax cuts!

    April 11, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  206. Kevin

    Serious deficit reduction won't be accomplished until something bad happens like the government defaulting on its debt or worse. Republicans are not serious about debt/deficit reduction. All you have to do is look at what they did under Bush. All they care about is to use this crisis to give more and more to the wealthiest Americans, to take food out of the mouth of babies, and give a big windfall to private insurance companies in the name of vouchers for senior citizens which will severly reduce and limit their access to healthcare.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  207. Richard Range Jr.

    Look Mr. Cafferty,
    I'm 17 and I can even see that a serious deficit reduction won't happen, and the only time we are going to cut spending it seems is during the eleventh hour before a government shutdown every year... Now I can tell you what needs to be done to fix this, but let's face it it's nothing we all haven't already heard.
    Crown Point, Indiana

    April 11, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  208. Bob from Michigan

    I just don't see them getting control of the situation until our financial system collapses, our worldwide military becomes unsustainable and returns home, and the social safety nets are abandoned. They just love spending and spending without regard to income. The debt will doom the country and the future of our children and our government cannot control it because of ignorance, love of power and greed.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  209. Robert D

    Quite frankly, the deficit will never be cut as long as we have a military designed around Cold War conflicts. If Republicans and Democrats were serious about reducing spending, they'd start there.

    The conflicts of the next century will require surgical precision and small unit tactics. The giant set piece battles and armored engagements are a thing of the past. There's no longer a need for the United States to have bases around the world. They were established as a cold war deterrent. That need is no longer there.

    However, no member of Congress would have the courage to do so.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  210. Phil in KC

    If it were simple enough to capture in a few short lines, it would already be done. Unfortunately, it's an extremely complex situation and involves many causes near and dear to the hearts of opposing sides in this debate. But those who represent us will somehow manage to boil it down to a few sound bites. They always do.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  211. Kevin F

    I think we have gotten to this governmental gridlock because the prospect of becoming a career politician has become too lucrative. Members of the House are kowtowing to the narrow interests of their constituents with a constant eye on the next election. So, two words answer your question: term limits.

    Bryan, TX

    April 11, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  212. John

    It's going to be accomplished when our elected officials work for the American people, not for our wealthiest people and corporations. The answer is in publicly financed campaigns.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  213. Gary H. Boyd

    Your question is remindful of the comment by former Illinois Senator Everett Dirkson who said, "you spend a million here and a million there and pretty soon it ads up to some pretty fair change".
    That kind of attitude is what got us to where we are now so the only possible way to correct the problem is simply the reverse - save a million here and a million there and pretty soon it would add up to some pretty fair change. Hopefully by year 2100 America will be back in the black.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    April 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  214. Alvin Lewis

    Alvin Lewis, NY. what can i say, i don't know much on how the government works yet, still in high school but from my point of view the government isn't living up to the "U.S Constitution".The government know what the problems are but just can't seem to stop fighting like "little kids" to slove them.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  215. JMBarrett

    I can see the handwriting on the wall now. Seniors will have their medicare coverage cut or eliminated completely in favor of vouchers that won't pay for much of anything (because insurance companies run this country, and if it was too expensive for the government, it is way too expensive for bottom-line conscious insurance companies), and the Republicans in congress will find a way to funnel all those savings from Medicare and Medicaid right into the already bursting-at-the-seams pockets of the super rich. God Bless America.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  216. Annie, Atlanta

    When we put serious people up on Capitol Hill. People who would be willing to cut their salaries in half to share in the pain, instead of taking food out of the mouths of senior citizens. People who would be willing to increase taxes on those who contribute to campaigns. People who will stop the perpetual wars. People who give a damn about this country and all the people in it, not the next election, or their pockets, or only those who vote for them. Not gonna happen. We're not smart enough to vote for the right people. And the choices suck. The lesser of two evils is not a choice.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  217. Mike Rogers (CDR USNR - Ret)

    Sir – You are soon spot-on. Our congress has totally ignored their obligations to us the citizens. First not passing a budget prior to the start of the new fiscal year. Second taking a vacation it is a crisis in government spending. It is not amazing that our elected representatives have ignored what they are supposed to do. They have their own agendas which do not include looking after us who pay he taxes which make for their salaries. Using our military and planned parenthood as pawns in something that should have been addressed months ago is unconscionable. Maybe we the tax payers should show the same laze fare attitude and not pay our taxes this year. PLEASE keep the heat on – we need to replace ALL the deadwood in congress (ALL OF THEM) and the white house while we are at it. We need people REPRESENTING US not their own slefish egos.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  218. Barry H

    Only when the Federal, State and Local Governments make the distinction between programs they must do; e.g., protection and safety (Defense, fire, police, courts), education, infrastructure, assistance to those that because of physical or mental limitations are not capable of supporting themselves and temporary assistance to those for no fault of their own need help and I mean temporary assistance. The nice to do programs are just that, fund them if you can without going into debt. It is time to stop supporting irresponsible behavior with government handouts. That will cause some hardships in the beginning, but once there is no free lunch and the politicians cannot give out the goodies to get votes we may be able to get back on a more solid financial footing.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  219. Kevin

    We as a country can get the budget under control. We will need all of the
    U.S. citizens to protest this mess. However, Congress knows U.S. domestic oil will be in high demand soon. China will need it as much as the rest of the world. We will sell oil at a premium. The world will pay our debt. This is the thinking of Congress. We must demand change and
    for most protest is not cost effective. Allowing Congress the path of least resistance will cost us the best republic the world has ever known.

    The U.S. was attacked December 7th, 1941 because we refused
    oil supply to Japan. Are we really wanting to be in the same position a second time. We the people will have to stop this runaway spending.

    Or it will be controlled for us with debt.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  220. Kim Smith

    Jack, deficit reduction is a myth that politicians foist upon us to convince us that we need them to solve our problems. They are the problem, and they know it. We are past the point of no return on our national debt, Congress is totally incapable of any serious decision making and are cowardly to the point of being traitorous. All we get from our so-called leaders is one distraction after another so we can't organize against them.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  221. Deborah Kilgore

    If 12 to 16 million unemployed/underemployed citizens were marching around their state capitals or walking TOWARDS Washington do you think the vacation might be canceled?
    Congress has to run home to make sure their seats are safe for the next election thanks to the census. If every Democrat, Republican and independent began signing petitions for a Consitutional amendment for term limits do you think they "might" work a little harder?
    McKinney, Texas

    April 11, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  222. Joyce Grissom, Marshall, TX

    Defecit reduction will occur when we get back employment and increase the taxes of the ric who donb't pay any taxes. Once the GOP realizes that those under 55 think too, they will back off Medicare.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  223. Kris

    The only serious way to cut deficits is to cut entitlements and raise revenue. If any debt reduction tax is imposed, the only way I will support it, is if the gov't passes a constitutional amendment to where it must run a balanced budget, and the tax is used solely for debt. It can not be used to pay for anything else, it can not be raised, and it expires once the national debt is paid off and the gov't is never allowed to run a debt again. One chance to get right, if that's not agreeable then they are not serious about getting the financial house in order. There is no serious economic argument to continue to paying interest and use the countries future revenues to finance todays tough political decisions

    April 11, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  224. CenterPoint

    I can't see that there is enough tax base even at $250K to do much to avert a cash catastrophe. When "We the people" decide that it is not governments job to care for our fellow citizens and start taking these responsibilities personally, then and only then, shall we begin to reduce the deficits caused by a do-all government. We only have ourselves to blame for what has happened. We have let power hungry people utilize our desire to help others as a self-serving vehicle.

    The technology now exists that we no longer require the mechanisms of government to effect real change within our country.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  225. John

    Until the Republican party can acknowledge that the solution lies in a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, nothing will get accomplished.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  226. quinton - la quinta, CA

    It never seems to amaze me that people cannot see the whole picture. All these people in Washington are concerned about is politcal games and strategy, not the economy. If you look at your own budget and you need to balance it you look at income AND expenditure. Why can we not do the same eg. stop spending billions a month fighting in other countries and spend it on your own people (such as Social sec and Medicare etc.). You will have to up the taxes but not exorbitantly otherwise companies will leave. It's a BALANCE. Also EVERYBODY needs to contribute. The fact that nearly half of Americans do NOT pay federal taxes (they get it refunded every year) is a disgrace)...there needs to be an AMT at BOTH ends of the scale.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  227. Michael (Austin, TX)

    When you put it that way, Jack, I would have to say a nation-wide revolt against our government may be the only way to reduce the deficit. Maybe the tea party is on to something???? Kinda scary.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  228. Sean

    Someone just have to sacrifice their political seats.... and then another scum will take over riding on the wave of hate on the one who actually reduce the budget. Cheers.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  229. Sharon from LOuisiana

    Congress can put the old people and the poor on ice floes in the Arctic then they won't be getting Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. God forbid taxing the rich or big corporations or reducing.Congressional salaries and benefits! Forget the middle class that no longer exists! Sharon

    April 11, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  230. Joe in Maryland

    It won't because members of Congress and the President care more about their prospects for reelection. They will do whatever it takes to get votes with total disregard to the financial well being of the country.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  231. russoxford

    The deficit and the debt ceiling issues will never be fixed until OUR government, the govenment of the people, decide to put their own selfish political and party ambitions aside. They need to do what's right for America.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  232. Andrew

    When the baby boomers start to die off, the deficit will be addressed. The demographic bulge of that age group puts enormous pressure on entitlement programs. This is combined with a me-first attitude that has been embodied in their thinking from the anti-establishment days of their youth, to the corporate raider days of their middle age, and now in the "get government's hands off my Medicare" days of their retirement. Hopefully, the following generations have fostered a less self-centered mindset, and so will elect a government with a mandate to actually address fiscal problems instead of punting on them.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  233. Mike in Alexandria


    Serious reduction will only happen when the President and Congress ask, "Can this Federal function be done more appropriately by the state governments?" Only then will big departments like HHS, DOT, and programs like MedicAid be cut at the Federal level. If the Federal Government is providing a "block grant" to the States for something, then it should never have been a Federal function to begin with.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  234. Spyd

    First things first – if you are digging a hole and you decide you don't want a hole, simply putting down your shovel and no longer digging deeper won't fill the hole. At some point, if you want the hole filled, you have to fill with something. Everyone needs to accept this or we will never get out of this mess.
    Then, we need to get our public servants back to being servants and not millionaires. There should be a salary cap for ALL public servants. Folks who want to make more money need to seek employment in the private sector. If the people making the laws and enforcing the laws had to live the same basic lives as the roughly 80% of us who aren't living in poverty and aren't wealthy we would save millions of dollars a year in salary reduction alone. I know this is a far cry from the billions and trillions that are at stake, but until we collectively recognize that you can't fill a hole by not digging any more and that public servants were never meant to be gifted with lavish salaries rivaling those in the private sector, we will never be able to heal our economic woes.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  235. shag

    I know this will not get reprinted, but the U.S. should use all its resources to police the welfare system. You want proof, just watch Judge Judy. Three fourths of the plaintiffs and defendants on that program get some sort of assistance from our government, and she even shakes her head when she ask the simple question of "What do you do for a living?" , and the response is usually, SSI, Welfare, Disability, Unemployment, House Aid Assistance, this and that.
    Clean that program up and it would save the U.S. Government Billions of dollars a year.
    S from Maryland

    April 11, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  236. John

    It will only happen when politicians become more concerned with the legacy of their children and grandchildren than with that of their own political career. Sadly, I am afraid that Americans are not willing to pay the sacrifice (fewer government perks and higher taxes) to pursue this path before the next great crisis...

    April 11, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  237. lynnej in north carolina

    It will never become serious unless Congress has to live like the rest of us with $15,000 to $20,000 a year salaries with no benefits.

    By the time they start searching for healthcare coverage on that salary, they'll finally get serious.

    There is nothing like going from about $6500 every two weeks to $500 to $700 every two weeks for a reality check especially when your mortgage covers one check and half of another.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  238. steve kevlin,,,, puyallup wa.

    Or when congress goes on vacation in a few weeks we could change the locks on all the doors and put a repo sign on the door and not let any of them back in the building...

    April 11, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  239. Sam Alvarez

    We are too selfish to make this happen. Rich people don't wan't tax increases, baby boomers don't want to retire later in life even though the expected life expectancy has boomed, we soak up medical expense by living an unhealthy lifestyle. If we are not willing to sacrifice be responsible and lower out standard of living by just a bit, we are going to fall.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  240. Vince

    Hi Jack!! What a joke this is. Here we are debating spending limits and deficit reduction . Come on people the real question is how in the heck can we ever pay the national debt off? It’s approaching 14 Trillion what will 70Billion in cuts will do? You tell me what the answer is. America is on sale\, homes prices are in the tank, Gasoline is at an all time high dragging the avg. WORKING person’s budget, School Tuitions are up, will Spending limits really reduce debit? Or delay the outcome from 14 to 15 trillion. ARE we getting the picture, not? I say this. Since the world is broke or at least most of the western world. Why not Negotiate the National debt lets get real here we will never pay this off. Fund projects that will improve the economy and create JOBS now. Negotiate everyone’s Debt, create a program that will educated the avg. worker and student about finances and investing in America. by US recovery Bonds. Any company that sends jobs over seas should be taxed heavily and not allowed to pass that on to the consumer. How can a Government that is not responsible to its own debit to country and expect the working force and citizens to act responsible. Wake up America!!! We don't own America we just live here. China, Saudi Arabia and other countries own our debit and sell us goods. But when you ask the question who is footing the bill for protecting the world its all on us.. Get Real everyone wake up. It’s time our leadership step up the Plate and Negotiate. Everything is Negotiable

    April 11, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  241. Craig Helenske

    Jack, I think this is simple, they act like children,treat them like children. When given a job and they don't get it done, you take away the candy. In this case the money or the assumed money they had to play with. No deal, we revert back automatically to the last approved budget, and they start cutting from there. Then demand that they reinstate PAYGO, and then watch them wine.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  242. Harold, Phoenix,AZ.

    The required steps to solve the problem will not be taken. Our elected leaders only wish to be reelected. At some point we will cease to start wars in the midst of tax cuts. Why is our defense budget greater than much of the world combined? Until we seriously consider medicare,medicaid, social security and the defense budget we don't stand a chance.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  243. sarah from Pennsylvania

    Anyone running a business knows that you cannot cost cut yourself into prosperity – you have to have revenue growth. And the only way to get revenue growth is to revise the tax code and make sure that everyone pays something – and I mean everyone who earns an income. After all , low and high income people travel our roads, have police and fire deparmtents, etc.

    April 11, 2011 at 5:51 pm |