There is a Perfect Storm approaching the United States.
In the next few decades the drains on our Federal budget will be unbearable. We are already spending hundreds of billions each year from Uncle Sam's credit card. Social security is underfunded by trillions of dollars. The drug benefit for Medicare will cost trillions more.
Unless we come up with new and unique sources of revenue we will be forced to endure an unprecedented tax burden. Our children will be working for our government far past tax freedom day.
So I'd like to ask you all to take off your Republican or Democratic hats and put on your American hats. What are your ideas of how our Government can raise new sources of revenue without infringing (too much) on the capitalist ideas that have served us so well, for so long? I'm not interested in labels like "socialist" or "laissez faire". We need solutions, and I'm not opposed to trying radical ones for a period of time until they can be shown to work or not work.
In fact, that's one of my favorite ideas. In a country as large as America, why don't we try a few different policy approaches in different geographic areas in a scientific manner as possible? The people in California want to try idea A. The folks in Texas want to try idea B. Add some scientific controls and get back to us in a year or three and let us know how it's working for you.
Currently, our government collects revenue based on the "table scraps" model. When our Capitalists capitalize, the government takes a portion in the form of taxes, duties, tariffs, etc. The problem is that there simply aren't enough scraps. Especially when you consider that 34% of government receipts being used for the budget in 2007 was supposed to go toward the Social Security Trust Fund.
It appears to me that we as a people must take some forms of direct sales revenue for the government. Perhaps nationalizing power generation. From my napkin math, that could clear about $370 billion in gross receipts a year in electric sales alone.(Source: Energy Information Administration[*]
). Of course, profit would be much lower than that, and having the gub'mint run anything is not a recipe for packing the place with efficient, smart workers. But it's something.
Maybe it's a stupid idea. It probably is a stupid idea. But let's be clear here. Inaction is not an option. In the absence of any ideas at all, I'll take a stupid one and make it work until something better comes along.
Another question of course is, do we really need an "Energy Information Administration"?????