A Government that works for all the people

Bernie Sanders says he wants government to work for all Americans, not just a few.

Ap­pear­ing on a CNN forum in Des Moines just a week be­fore the Iowa caucuses, Mr. Sanders renewed his call for a robust role for gov­ern­ment to balance the scales be­tween a strug­gling mid­dle class and the very rich. WSJ 1-16-16

imageWhen people hear that they often agree; I want my fair share! Hey who doesn’t? But Sander’s simplicity doesn’t compute.

Where do you think government spends its (your) money?  In fact, setting aside all the waste in government and the billions going to interest on debt, the vast majority of spending is designed to directly benefit average Americans. And most programs, including Social Security, are designed to skew benefits toward lower-income individuals. In addition, contrary to popular rhetoric, various taxes, limitations and restrictions in our laws limit benefits and impose higher taxes, often unique taxes, on higher income Americans.

As you can see below, 67% of federal spending (including benefits for federal workers) goes directly to average Americans, not the wealthy or as Sanders would say, the billionaires. A half a billion of that spending is not paid for, but borrowed thereby creating higher interest expense.

I suspect that Sanders and company feel none of this is enough and would raise taxes to expand social spending. The question is how much is enough? Is there a point where Americans are too dependent on government income transfer programs? The United States of America with its diverse 320 million person population, with its history of innovation, creativity, high standard of living and huge economy is not Denmark whose greatest claim to fame may be Legos©

The Washington Post
“Yes, we will raise taxes,” Sanders said during the CNN Democratic forum in Iowa on Monday night. “Yes we will.”


  1. I will say it again, amend the 16th Amendment concerning the income tax and make every expansion in spending that is not directly required by express statements in the Constitution subject to a vote of those paying the income tax when they file their income tax return – calculate the taxes with the proposed spending and without the proposed spending. Then, count the votes for and against. Let people vote with their feet and money. If you want, take away the vote from anyone who had an income > $1,000,000 a year (so as to give effect to Bernie’s argument that the millionaires and billionaires control the system). If the votes are yes, then, collect the tax and spend the appropriate money in the subsequent federal government fiscal year.

    I have the same attitude about Social Security. Give each American who is a beneficiary of the system a choice of how to address the funding deficit. Allow them to choose every year. Adjust price tags of the various alternatives each year (so, someone age 62 can’t all of a sudden change her choice from a reduction in benefits to increasing payroll taxes). The pricetags would have to reflect the “social” already incorporated in the program – so that individuals would not be able to assert that they are bearing a disproportionate share of the burden.

    We will soon see where everyday American’s agree on government spending. And if American’s are all informed that they have to choose their own solution to the Social Security funding shortfall (a shortfall created by Congress and various past Administrations, when they promised more than the funding would support), Americans will respond (we will need a default for those who fail to make a choice), and they will accept the choice they made.


  2. I have looked at the U.S. Budget over the years and always wonder why the Federal government does not run a balanced budget. 1 trillion in the budget is discretionary, so if we freeze it at current levels for a few years, we would grow into a balanced budget. Or figure how much we need to raise taxes on everyone, to get to a balanced budget. We cannot continue adding to the debt, if interest rates go back up to historic levels, it will not be long and we will be paying more in interest than we spend on Defense. Sometimes I think the politicians in D.C. flunked math class.


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