MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

October 18, 2013

THE PEOPLE SPEAK — Government can’t cover its expenses


— There has been a lot of talk about the federal budget, what with the recent government shutdown. However, the problem is much simpler than it seems. The federal government doesn’t receive enough tax revenues to cover its expenses. The projected budget for FY 2014 comes in at $3.778 trillion dollars, and the deficit is at $744 billion, leaving $3.034 trillion of money that is supported by tax revenues.

Of that, $974 billion goes to Medicare, $929 billion to the SSA, and $831 billion to the military. That adds up to $2.7 trillion; when you add on interest payments, at $223 billion, you end up with $2.93 trillion. That leaves barely a hundred billion of spending for the actual government. It is not reasonable to expect the federal government to shrink by almost 90 percent in order to balance the budget, especially since it would only be a temporary fix since Medicare and Social Security would keep increasing.

That means that there are only two reasonable solutions to balancing the budget. First, we can do something to increase federal tax revenues (either by increasing taxes or by reforming the tax code somehow). And second, we can do something about the three 800-pound gorillas of federal government spending I mentioned above. Those are the only ways we have of solving this problem.

JEFFREY “JAIME” EHLERS

Muskogee