The Right Opinion

Five Percent

By Rich Galen · Nov. 30, 2012

The good news about coming to the end of November is that we will soon embark on December meaning the clock will be clicking toward January by which time the Fiscal Cliff business will be dealt with.

Until the long scythe of the grim reaper signals the looming end of 2012, the parties to a potential solution will spend as much time posturing in public as parleying in private.

I gotta tell you. I don't understand all this anyway. I know my taxes are going up next year – one way or another. My rates will rise, my deductions will fall, or both. I'm not happy about that, but I've come to accept it.

Let's say my family taxable income for 2013 will be a little over $250,000 – just over the magic number making us, by specific declaration of the President of these United States, wealthy.

Whoo. Hoo.

According to I could reasonable be expected to pay: “$73,696 in federal, state, local and FICA taxes.” That is an effect tax rate of a little over 29 percent.

Assuming my withholding was correct I ended up with $176,300 in spendable income or about $14,700 per month.

That's not Warren Bufett money, but it's not peanuts.

Now, let's say I get hit with an overall 5 percent increase in taxes – payroll, income, and so on. If my arithmetic is correct that means an additional $3,685 over the course of the year or just north of $300 per month.

Nothing to sneeze at but that will still leave me with $14,300 per month on which I suspect we can scrape by so, while I might not like it, it won't make us change our habits all that much.

Fewer stops at Starbucks in the morning, and fewer meals at Landini's in the evening. Some jobs will be lost in Alexandria, Virginia as you multiply that by all the people who get their coffee and eat their meals at the same places I do in our relatively small community, but the Federal government will get my money.

That's the revenue side of the equation.

Let's look at the Federal spending side.

The Federal budget for 2013, according to the White House website, calls for expenditures of $3,803 trillion. Here's what it looks like written in numbers: $3,803,000,000,000.

That's just for 2013. If I'm reading the tables correctly, the number goes up each year until it reaches $5,820 billion 10 years down that can-kicking road.

If a five percent reduction in my spendable income will not pose a particular hardship on me, why can't a five percent cut in spending not pose a particular hardship on the Federal government?

Maybe they won't like it either, but they should do their part.

Over the course of the next 10 years total outlays are projected to be about $47 trillion.

Five percent of $47 trillion is $2.35 trillion – more than double the one trillion they're all falling down in a dead faint trying to save over ten years.

What is the federal government equivalent of Starbucks and Landini's? Fewer cars and drivers for federal employees who can take the same cabs and subway trips I do?

Fewer assistants to assistants' assistants so Federal employees can get a taste what private sector workers have been through – having been required to do more work with fewer people to save their jobs?

Stretch out the life cycle of major weapons systems? Maybe we don't have to change uniform designs, provided to enlisted personnel at government expense, every few years.

On the civilian side better use of broadband technology to cut employees' travel costs might be useful.

There are thousands of Starbucks/Landini's-type examples that would save five percent in spending – more than $2 trillion over 10 years, but would not make the Federal government miss a beat in the mundane programs we expect, nor the emergency programs we need.

Maybe the President can show his willingness to actually move the process forward by identifying five percent in savings in the Executive Office of the President. And perhaps the Speaker and the Senate Majority Leader might find the same level of cuts in their official budgets. Nah. They wouldn't like it.

On the Secret Decoder Ring today: A link to that PDF file from the White House web page showing outlays for the next 10 years and a pretty amusing Mullfoto from downtown Washington, DC.

Copyright ©2012 Barrington Worldwide, LLC |


Doktor Riktor Von Zhades in Western KY said:

5%? Why, why, that's inhumane! How can we possibly expect all government flunkies and leeches to do with 5% less? Taking public transportation, riding and rubbing elbows with the great unwashed demeans their elite status! What's worse they'd have to spend there OWN money! And the poor, what about the poor (on government handouts)? Oh the inhumanity! Asking them to take just even 1% cut in their "entitlements" would be so cruel! Come to think of it, our policies are so designed to make them even poorer, what with the cost of food these days, that if anything, they should be getting more in food stamps.

Sarcasm switch has now been disengaged......

Friday, November 30, 2012 at 8:43 AM

Doktor Riktor Von Zhades in Western KY replied:

Sorry got carried away with my statement, it should read "their own money"

Friday, November 30, 2012 at 8:44 AM

George Rogers Clark in Ohio replied:

Turn it back on, Doktor, we like it !

Friday, November 30, 2012 at 9:05 AM

George Rogers Clark in Ohio said:

Nice try, Mr. Galen. I liked it. It is a good idea. But, it was tongue-in-cheek, right? They will never cut spending in any meaningful way. They do not have the moral courage to do so. They love reelection and their ideology more than they love their country. Oh, yeah, their ideology is not conservative, even if they are Republicans.

"No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!"
-- Ronald Reagan

Friday, November 30, 2012 at 9:03 AM

Gregory in Yakima Wa. said:

Let's start with gradual elimination of most deductions. Mortgage interest deduction elimination could be phased out. Employer tax deductions for health care could be eliminated. IRA deductions could be eliminated. Dependent deductions could be eliminated. Oil company deductions, Wall Street deductions should be eliminated too.

That would make a huge difference in balancing the budget and the country would be that much less socialistic. But conservatives spend precious little time advocating such things.

Friday, November 30, 2012 at 10:03 AM

wjm in Colorado replied:

How about we eliminate idiot arguements from sodomite retards? Rot in hell you traitor, after a slow painful AIDS induced death.

Friday, November 30, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Joe Redneck in Maine said:

This isnt rocket science. We take in 2.2 trillion. Entitlements cost 2.2 trillion. 900 billion to run the rest of the government, so called discretionary spending, for 3.1 trillion leaving 900 billion deficit EVERY Year. Our budget cannot exceed 1.8 trillion, including entitlements. That leaves 400 billion per year to pay down our 16 trillion dollar mortgage in 40 years. We can't start next year, or 5 years or 10 years from now. We must start 1/1/13. We need to immeditely cut 1 trillion from entitlements and 400 billion from discretionary spending next year alone.

Friday, November 30, 2012 at 10:22 AM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

Joe, Your right but it will never happen. Entitilements have long been the problem with the budget. They have become sacred cows that no one has the intestinal fortitude to try and fix. I don't like having less money anymore than anyone else does. If they would cut spending on entitlements across the board and not exempt any program no matter what it is I think most people would go along with it if they thought it was fair. Stop all foreign aid, do away with some of the Cabinet departments, ie, Education,
Energy, Housing and Urban Development, etc and put them back in the States where they belong.. Of course, you will always have a percentage of people who will moan and cry no matter what happens. This might not work but something has to be done. We can't keep going down the same old road.

Friday, November 30, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Tod the tool guy in brooklyn ny said:

If the national govmint started cutting big gov, by raising the age of Social security, I'd be willing to receive up to 40% less on it,after paying in for 34 years. I'd do this for the children, not smelly rat democrats. Conservatives are always thinking of the future, based on our glorious past FREEDOMS!!

Friday, November 30, 2012 at 5:19 PM

GB in Greensboro said:

Only 29% in fed, state, local, FICA taxes? I wish. As a partner in a firm, making me self-employed for tax purposes, my total is much higher than that. Did Forbes consider property taxes in that 29%? Is the hypothetical taxpayer living in a state with no state income tax, like Florida? Perhaps I will have Forbes start doing my returns. . . so long as they do not make me a tax cheat (like head tax collector Timothy Geithner).

Monday, December 3, 2012 at 12:27 PM