Generally, what would you rather see more of to handle the government deficit?

Sure, the real solution is some combination of both, but generally speaking which would you prefer to see more of as the solution to handle the government deficit problem? Higher taxes or lower spending?

This is not intended to be a debate…there’s another forum for that…this is just a straw poll to see the general sentiment of posters here.

Poll forthcoming.

As far as I’m concerned, Americans get off pretty well for the amount of taxes we pay. Raise the taxes and make damned sure that EVERYONE (I’m looking at you top 1 percenters) pays their share.

Sorry, not answering your poll. Insufficient choices. I am all for raising taxes and reducing spending, but the devil is in the details. In the current debt ceiling debate the “raising taxes” being talked about is generally closing loopholes that are advantageous for the wealthy or corporations. I am all for raising those taxes. Raising taxes by eliminating the mortgage interest deduction for a primary residence, not only no but hell no. Spending is going to require the same nuanced discussion.

Sadly life does not break down to a easily answered two option poll.

I will never understand the general US aversion to taxing the rich.

I’d rather see more spending reductions. This doesn’t mean I’m hoping for a lot of services to be cut, though I won’t cry to hard over some (NASA, the arts…not big priorities in an down economy like this one), but that spending cuts should be made with the goal of waste reduction and improved spending efficiency on a department by department basis. I don’t think there’s any funding recipient, even down to a small town community action office, who couldn’t sit down and find some way of accomplishing most of what they currently do for less money. Maybe each office would only discover four-digit savings, but if everyone from the bottom up learned to economize more, the savings would be immense.

Of course, this is unrealistic given the mindsets of most Americans. Cutting the budget for office/service X by 10% likely wouldn’t encourage seeing if shopping around for bargains in the costs of vendors, contractors, and operations, but in hand-wringing about how they’ll have to eliminate something instead, even if costs could be realistically reduced to absorb the shortfall.

Trying to reduce costs in a govenment funded entity is like pulling teeth, and I know that from experience. For example, when we had a problem with one of the community action’s vans, we dutifully brought the van to the dealership even though the thing was ten years old and long since out of warranty because that was how things are done. They wanted to charge us $400 to fix something wrong with a lose oil pan. Being brash kids just out of college, we thought that was insane and brought it elsewhere for a second opinion, and ended up getting it fixed for $90. Were we congratulated for being economically-minded and saving over $300? Oh hell, no. We spent the entire day being lectured and hectored, even though we pointed out that after a warranty expires you’re under no obligation to continue only going to the dealership (there was no service contract to violate by going elsewhere either, we checked that first). Eventually they grudgingly admitted that our idea “worked out okay” and stopped fretting about it. :rolleyes: We need to change mindsets like this if we want to continue to provide the same services, but I’m afraid that it’s not likely to happen easily.

Right now, neither. Since the federal government can basically borrow money for nothing right now (in fact, literally nothing at some points) AND we’re in a giant recession (maybe you’ve noticed?), the government should be running a deficit. In fact, the government should be borrowing a lot more money and spending it as economic stimulus. The government is NOT like a household, and I think it’s a bad metaphor, but to the extent it applies, the government right now is like someone out of work with a broken car so they can’t get to jobs, who is being offered a no-interest loan. The smart thing to do is to fix the car, get a job, and repay the loan later on (it’s a free loan, remember).
In fact the whole deficit concern is a giant smokescreen. Remember, we had a federal surplus in the Clinton administration, and very little has changed as far as federal spending goes since then. The current deficit is entirely due to : 1. Bush’s income tax cuts; 2. The current economic recession; 3. Overseas war spending; and 4. Rising health care costs.

Out of these, only one is a long-term issue, assuming the Bush tax cuts expire as they were supposed to do when they were passed.

Tax everyone equally. Quit fucking with the rates and details.

Cut spending.

The US doesn’t have an aversion to taxing the rich. For reasons I will never understand they do have a habit of voting for politicians who are in the pockets of the rich, and don’t do what the populous wants.

What do you mean tax everyone equally? Everyone pays the same amount in taxes? Or everyone pays the same percentage of income in taxes? None of these simplistic approaches will work. No ideal solution actually exists.

Same percentage for everyone. It’s predictable, everyone knows what to expect.

IMO you shouldn’t be taxed at a higher percentage just because you make more, but you should certainly be taxed.


Your poll poses a false dichotomy, and, as such, is actively misleading. (I am sure that is not your intent. You have been deceived by the propaganda put about by the financial industry.) The deficit is not the real problem and both the measures you propose would, if applied to any significant degree, actually harm the economy and drive it into deeper recession, and perhaps all out depression.

A bit more taxation on the wealthy won’t do any noticeable harm and might do a bit a good, and no doubt there are minor instances of inefficient, wasteful spending that could safely be eliminated (certainly not the huge amounts that some people like to imagine) but raising taxes across the board or swingeing cuts in government spending and services would both be disastrous for the economy in its current state.

When the economy starts running hot again, with full employment,** that **is the time to raise taxes and perhaps even reign in spending to build up a suplus for the government ready for the next time.

Seriously raise taxes on the rich; they have most of the money in the country.

And it will be a major tax increase for the non-wealthy. While bothering the wealthy not at all.

We now have historically low tax rates, so we all can afford to pay a little more - and the rich can afford to pay a lot more. In an economic downturn spending less is absurd., since we need to get consumption back up. And let’s not simplistically talk about waste. Nothing is every 100% efficient, but when towns are laying off police I think we’ve gone way past the stage where you can cut without pain.

I’d like to see higher taxes for the rich before anything else. But it’s not an either/or situation as the Republicans would have you believe.

Choosing only one or the other, at this point in history: taxes. They are at historic lows, or nearly so. The last two economic booms happened after tax hikes, and more government cuts means more former public-sector workers looking for work, thus adding to unemployment.
I’d like to see spending cut, too, particularly the over-fed military. There is plenty of waste elsewhere, too.

In order for a flat tax to bring in the same level of tax revenue as our current progressive system, you would have to increase taxes on the poor so much that you might as well fuck them in the ass with a broomhandle while you are at it.

Edit: That was not a humble opinion. Sorry, I saw this thread heading into Pit territory.

Higher taxes. Didn’t have to think about it for a second.

I agree with the call for a same percentage. But it should be included with equalization of all sources of income. We should stop taxing the income of the wealthy at a lower rate than we tax the income of the poor and middle class.

Higher taxes, since I can’t choose both possibilities.

Higher taxes.

And while we’re waiting for the revenue to come in, evaluate the living daylights out of it’s gonna go. I totally see where the Right is coming from in wanting to cut spending where it’s wasted, but just like running a household: sometimes you’ve got to increase revenue to keep up with the bills you racked up when some emergencies popped up. It’s a bitch to work two jobs, but it’s also a reality sometimes.