A Balanced Budget that's Fiscally Responsible
Budget balancing should not mean slashed social services. It means that we live within our financial realities.
Today, the numbers behind our realities are sobering. For years, the federal government has spent more money than it has raised, and this extra spending was funded by borrowed money. Since 2002, the Federal budget deficit (how much it borrows) has ranged between $200 billion and $1.4 trillion. The total national debt owed by the United States today stands at $19.5 trillion. Increased debt comes with increased interest payments, which today is around $230 billion every year. Yet come 2025, our interest payments are estimated to exceed $700 billion per year - money that's effectively thrown out the window.
There are solutions to this problem. But each carry their own degree of political drawbacks as they underline realities that large swaths of our society - especially special interests - do not want to hear. Indeed, if the old west adage of “if you seek to speak the truth, keep one foot in the stirrup” was to ever prove true, it would be within a public discussion of budget policies. So what we hear instead is political tightroping between an inconvenient truth and a reassuring lie.
The Alliance Party is not in the business of lying, so the truth - as inconvenient as it may be - is that of the solutions to this problem, there are three and only three:
- Cut spending by slashing government programs.
- Raise more revenue.
- Make government more efficient.
Yet it's also true that no one solution can cut it. Slashing government programs guts the social safety net and the middle class, and leads to cascading social afflictions that just sap resources from other government functions. Raising more revenue simply helps bail out more water from a leaking boat and rewards fiscal irresponsibility on the part of government. Making government more efficient is politically precarious and requires unity within government - a task made all the more troublesome since special interests profit greatly from public waste and financial mismanagement.
So today, our circumstances are framed by team #1 fighting with team #2 trying their best to ignore reality #3 because the interests who fund the election campaigns of both teams make a killing from it. As a result, the problem just continues to get worse.
The Alliance Party's plan is to recognize all of these realities at the same time and incorporate them accordingly into our budget model.
First: we seek to reduce government spending while keeping the scope of public services intact at improved quality. We plan to accomplish this goal by consolidating the redundant and opaque functions of government and streamlining them through our Government 2.0 model for public service that is held to higher accountability standards.
This will downsize the federal workforce overall, yet increase it in key areas to make government a service that works for the people. Additionally, we plan to cut government spending by standing down the immensely wasteful war on drugs, cutting military expenditures not verifiably necessary to national security and reforming public health programs into a streamlined single-payer healthcare model.
Second: with government spending brought under control while making government operate more efficiently, we propose an overhauled tax and revenue structure that works for all Americans. Our plan lowers taxes for small business owners, small-scale investors and families from the upper-middle class on down. It also lowers taxes for most corporations. It raises taxes on income earners making more than $1 million annually on a gradually progressive scale.
This approach also seeks to raise additional revenue through several sources. We plan to legalize and tax the sale of marijuana at the federal level while modestly increasing taxes on certain vices such as alcohol, tobacco and gambling. Luxury taxes on certain items (sports cars, mega yachts, private jets, five-figure jewelry) will also be proposed, as will the leasing and sale of unused federal property (excluding national parks and forests).
With this strategy, we cut waste without cutting critical services or reducing their quality. We make government operate more efficiently and transparently, so taxpayers can verify that public funds are truly being spent responsibly. We then cut taxes for most corporations and everyone but the wealthy and ultra-wealthy. As we would be raising more money than we spend in this approach, we would use the budget surplus to fund Universal Energy and build a next-generation economy with advanced infrastructure while paying off the national debt over a period of 20-25 years.
How we plan to execute this strategy is based on three areas: caps on spending, increased revenue targets and a revamped tax code. We'll go over each of these from here in that order.