It doesn’t look like the debate will be solved anytime soon, and spending cuts are now on the table. In light of that fact, Christopher Ryan Porter sees some solutions to the U.S. dilemma.
By Kevin Hewston
With less than a month away until Jan. 1, ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations still are in a stalemate. It seems neither side will budge. Republicans want tax cuts for the wealthy, while Democrats want tax cuts for the middle class. Both sides must work together, but neither side wants to. It looks like we will go over the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ Jan. 1, when a series of tax increases and government spending cuts automatically take effect.
But people, including Christopher Ryan Porter, want to avert such a big financial crisis. He is of the economic school of thought that the government needs to spend money to make money. That would be a good idea considering the nation faces another recession should a deal not pass. Instead of cutting Medicare and Social Security, as the Republicans look to do, why not cut spending other ways?
A big problem is federal prisons, and the toll on the American people is tremendous. Our taxpayers fund prisoners to get free educational training in prison and the like. The problem is serious: We have 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of its prisons, according to the NAACP and others. That all makes for some overcrowded prisons. Moreover, we spend about $70 billion on detention yearly–$700 billion over Congress’s 10-year budget window!
Add that problem to the War on Drugs. The U.S. government spends about $15 billion a year, which translates to $150 billion a year over 10 years. That figure doesn’t include, however, the high costs to jail those who do and sell drugs. Moreover, the nation could save money by legalizing and taxing marijuana. For instance, California would stand to get $18 billion yearly from full legalization, according to studies by marijuana advocates.
Healthcare reform is another major issue. The U.S. spends significantly more on caring for its citizens than other countries. In 2010, sources such as The New York Times say that number was $2.6 trillion. Obama began the road to reform with his Affordable Care Act, but more can be done. Prescription drugs costs the U.S. $50 billion annually and medical malpractice fears cost in upwards of around $60 billion a year.
Other ways exist to chip away at the deficit in addition to the above. Christopher Ryan Porter agrees with most people that Washington has misguided focus. Political leaders need to stop their political posturing and concentrate on the American people they serve.
About: Christopher Ryan Porter is a blogger on such diverse subjects as the economy. He considers it a scientific pursuit and passion of his.