You Solve the Deficit

US National Debt, 6 July 2006

Image by chrisjohnbeckett via Flickr

The Sunday New York Times has a feature in their Week in Review section called “You Fix the Budget”.

I’ve worked out a solution, at least given the parameters in the article. I know that some of you will attack this exercise, saying the basic premise is flawed, but I feel that’s just a diversion. Roll up your sleeves and get to work.

I’d be interested in seeing what other 538ers come up with as a proposed solution. Maybe someone will volunteer to compile our suggestions in some way and see what areas of agreement (and disagreement) we have.

Here’s my solution.


About Monotreme

Monotreme is an unabashedly liberal dog lover, writer, and former scientist who now teaches at a University in an almost-square state out West somewhere. http://www.logarchism.com | http://www.sevendeadlysynapses.com
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70 Responses to You Solve the Deficit

  1. Monotreme says:

    Yes. I’m looking forward to seeing others’ solutions.

    There is a link on the page that says “share your solution” and you can copy and paste the resulting URL into your comments. That way, we can compare everyone’s efforts.

  2. Monotreme says:

    To clarify, once you’ve got a “solution”, a yellow bar appears that offers to let you share it on Twitter. Even if you don’t have a Twitter account, press that button, and a shortened URL will appear (it starts http://t.co…) and you can cut and paste that into a comment here.

  3. shiloh says:

    The one suggestion I really, really like is a means test to qualify for SS so millionaires/billionaires wouldn’t get squat lol. If for no other reason than it would totally piss off Bart and his ilk!

    Hey, it’s already a (((socialist))) program, soooo let’s take it to the nth degree.

    >

    Again Bartles, repeating from a previous thread where you contradicted yourself in the span of 2/3 sentences: 😀

    The commission will not vote to approve anything, soooo Obama will have nothing to repudiate …

  4. I’m conflicted about the means test. Is Social Security a pension or a welfare program? That it’s both and neither helps to explain why we have such a hard time discussing what to do with it.

  5. Monotreme says:

    It’s a tax on working people (i.e. the young) that is paid to the non-working people (i.e. the old, the infirm). The sooner we recognize that, the sooner we can talk about it.

  6. Of course that’s what it is, but that’s not how it’s marketed. And is it what it should be?

    The deeper I delve into Social Security, the less I like how it’s funded, marketed, and distributed.

  7. Monotreme says:

    I agree.

  8. Here’s mine. I had a good amount of money left over, which should go to a combination of debt reduction and real investment. I’m still a fan of an X-Prize model for technological innovation, which would cost the government far less money and guarantee much better results.

  9. Monotreme says:

    One thing I found in my parent comment was that the links only work if you right-click ’em and choose “open in new window”. Sorry, Mr. U, I don’t remember how to do this on a Mac but maybe you do.

    Michael, we are really close. I think you and I could negotiate a solution. I also had “extra” money.

    Vote for Michael and Monotreme 2012!

  10. Bart DePalma says:

    Back to surplus in less than 10 minutes. Of note…

    1) I would use some of that surplus to make the Simpson/Bowles tax reform and the mortgage credit plans revenue neutral, which is somewhat of a misnomer because cutting tax rates by that amount would raise economic growth tax revenues substantially.

    2) I would cut discretionary spending and government employees far more than the few options given by the NYT.

    a) Reduce government employee wages and benefits to private levels over 10 years. Civil service pay mushroomed under Bush and Obama and is double comparable private benefits.

    b) Return discretionary spending and government employee staffing to 2000 levels in real dollars by 2015.

    c) Cut tax rates across the board with the saved money.

  11. Monotreme says:

    See, now this is really cool. I can see substantial areas of agreement across the political spectrum.

    Too bad none of this will ever come to pass, but I can dream.

  12. cutting tax rates by that amount would raise economic growth tax revenues substantially

    Based on what evidence? Hasn’t happened yet.

    I would cut discretionary spending and government employees far more than the few options given by the NYT.

    Not surprising, given that it seems you’ve never met a government employee that you want to keep employed.

    Reduce government employee wages and benefits to private levels over 10 years.

    Not inherently a bad idea, but we need something more automatic. I big part of the reason those wages went up so much was that it became harder for government to attract good people in competition with private industry. Things swung back in the other direction, but the incentives didn’t follow suit. Since benefit movements tend to be sclerotic in government, that’s part of the problem.

  13. Panamanian Girl says:
  14. shortchain says:

    I’m wondering where this idea that government employee wages and benefits are better than private levels came from. Out of curiosity, I’ve looked at a few positions with the feds that are in my line. The salaries and benefits they show are not out of line with those people would get in the private sector.

    Now, this may not be true in other lines of work, but before we accept this as simply a given, it should really be examined.

  15. Monotreme says:

    Welcome, Panamanian Girl!

    (Everyone: this is Panamanian Girl. We know each other In Real Life. She’s smart and beautiful, just the kind of person we attract to this blog, so I invited her over.)

    Let’s do everything we can to encourage her to comment more.

  16. Panamanian Girl says:

    Thank you!

    It seems that I haven’t figured out HTML tags…

    So again, here’s my plan…

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/11/13/weekinreview/deficits-graphic.html?choices=8j9tn5q6

  17. filistro says:

    Welcome, Panamanian Girl!

    I’m always happy when another of us shows up here because this place suffers from a severe overabundance of testosterone… and testosterone, as we all know, is a perfectly dreadful substance.

    Hope to see a lot more of you! 🙂

  18. Monotreme says:

    @filistro:

    Say one more bad thing about testosterone and I’m going to kick your ass.

  19. Sylvia Newman says:

    Here’s my plan: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/11/13/weekinreview/deficits-graphic.html?choices=p72tclk4

    I posted this at the request of Monotreme because I am moderate to right-leaning. After going through the choices, I was surprised that it could even be done. I noticed that I didn’t raise the Social Security and Medicare ages as high as the person who first posted this on this site–which surprised me since I figured someone more liberal would have opposed raising the age altogether or at least not as high. I have fewer cuts to the military–but I still cut the nuclear arsenal and the remaining troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I really struggled with that one. Can 30,000 really help maintain stability? In the end, I chose to leave 60,000 troops there.

    I chose the national sales tax, not because I want more taxes, but because sales tax seem the most fair tax of any out there.

    I let some of the Bush tax cuts expire and a modified estate tax pass, although I struggled with that one. Ideologically, I question what right does the gov’t have to someone’s money just because they happen to die. Today in the paper, a conservative columnist said, “Among many other reasons to kill the tax, Americans spend about as much to hide from it as it generates, according to the latest revenue data: $28.8 billion in 2008. ‘The compliance, or more appropriately, the avoidance costs of the transfer tax system may well approach the revenue yield,’ observed Alicia Munnell, a member of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. The Congressional Joint Economic Committee estimated that “for every dollar of tax revenue raised by the estate tax, another dollar is wasted simply to comply with or avoid the tax.”

    So, I struggle with that one. I have no problem cutting farm subsidies. Anybody who has read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma cannot support those subsidies.

  20. filistro says:

    LOL… remember those embarrassing days early in the Iraq war when all the resident Neanderthals “conservative keyboard warriors” were going around talking about “opening up’ a big can of whup-ass on Saddam?”

    I think testosterone should be a controlled substance. … and given out on a basis that correlates closely with IQ.

  21. Monotreme says:

    See, fili? I have many friends amongst the testosterone-challenged.

  22. filistro says:

    Spiny echidnas are known to be extremely charming. They also have a keen color sense and are good dancers.

  23. shiloh says:

    Shock and Awe …

  24. Jean says:

    The NYT “you balance the budget” game may be fun, but it is not reality and not nearly as detailed as it needs to be. The media appears to focus on only the sound-bite bumper-sticker headlines and is, in no way, interested in drilling down to the real problems, which are longstanding and significant. I am thoroughly disgusted with the “recommendations” of the supposedly bipartians Catfood Commission and their “deficit reduction” recommendations.

    Where’s the mention of restricting the thousands of HB-1 visas that are forcing US college grads to compete with foreign workersss, thereby keeping our college grads from finding jobs – jobs that would produce taxable revenue?

    Where is a recommendation to levy a penalty, instead of a reward, for corporate outsourcing of jobs? (see the current Admininstration’s attempts to do so, but filibustered by Republicans , most recently Senate Bill 3816 Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act.

    http://patrickjm.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/more-gop-duplicity/

    Further, where is the recommendation to impose tariffs to match the differences for those imported goods when they come back to the USA – produced by what used to be American based factories but which are now operated elsewhere.

    Where is the the closing of the many loopholes and exemptions that multinational corporations currently use to avoid paying even as much as what the middle class does in taxes.

    BTW, companies don’t lie when they say they are ASSESSED way more in taxes. They just neglect to mention that , with the help of a whole army of attorneys and accountants , they don’t end up paying much, if any, of what they were assessed. Has no one noticed that most of our largest, richest and most profitable corporations pay little or nothing in taxes in the US? How, exactly, will reducing the rate make them pay their fair share? The simple answer is: it can’t, and it won’t.

    No mention is made to make the oil companies do without the refunds they get on monies not paid in the first place?

    There is no mention of re- enacting Glass-Stegal to get a solid set of regulations in place – regulations that would have prevented this mess from occurring in the first place and further, would prevent it from happening again in the future.

    And to address the “Catfood Commission” speaking for those who are not near the top of the economic food chain, I say unequivocally — WE ALREADY GAVE.

    -We gave, when free trade became a moronic mantra, tariffs were cut, and corporations exported so many American jobs under the false promise that other new domestic jobs would be the result and MORE than compensate.

    -We gave, when defined benefit pensions disappeared, and we instead had to rely only on 401k plans and social security.

    -We gave, when health care became increasingly unaffordable, medical insurers became so adept at denying coverage and weaseling out of their obligations, and conservatives promoted “medical savings accounts” — a sick joke if there ever was one.

    -We gave, when unions were broken and job security and decent wages disappeared.

    -We gave, when corporate officers committed gross mismanagements or even fraud, ran their companies into the ground while personally extracting hundreds of millions of dollars, and workers ended up in the unemployment lines.

    -We gave, when your policies created destabilizing economic constructs and bubbles.

    -We gave, when college tuitions even at public institutions, rose so high that people seeking to improve themselves in the best American tradition now faced a lifetime of indebtedness.

    You can’t get blood out of a turnip.

  25. Ideologically, I question what right does the gov’t have to someone’s money just because they happen to die.

    It’s a matter of perspective. They don’t take it from the deceased. They take it from the inheritor.

  26. Gator says:

    ‘Tis good to be…

    Need edit. Or am I missing something re: functionality?

  27. filistro says:

    Yes… an inheritor who didn’t earn the money.

    And everything in the conservative mindset should be appalled at the thought of people getting a pile of free money that they haven’t earned.

  28. Monotreme says:

    It’s tricky getting the right URL cut’n’pasted.

    The one you want has “choices=” followed by eight or so random characters at the end.

  29. Jean says:

    Sylvia Newman,

    Welcome, Sylvia! Glad to have your comments and input; they are valuable. Though your view may sometimes seem diametrically opposed to mine, this is a conversation we ALL need have. And we will learn from each other.

    We all want what’s best for America and American citizens. We need to find common ground and it is becoming clear that it is up to us – politicians (right or left) are incapable or unwilling to have the conversation that this country honestly needs to have.

  30. Mr. Universe says:

    Control click. You can right click some newer Macs.

  31. Mr. Universe says:

    Love Michael Pollan!

  32. Mr. Universe says:

    Plus, we’ve covered this already. They have four…you know.

  33. Mr. Universe says:

    Having lived in a state with sales tax and one without I can say that it is certainly a good way to get your state out of the financial doldrums. God forbid I should ever run for office on that platform in Oregon. It would be political suicide. Oregonians are progressive but they are a stubborn lot. Don’t ever try to pump your own gas here.

  34. Mr. Universe says:

    Dang, Jean’s like all smart and stuff.

  35. filistro says:

    OOOOH.. Gator has a cool avatar!

    C’mon everybody. Ditch the snowflakes, get an avatar.

    If I can do it, ANYBODY can.

  36. Mr. Universe says:

    Okay, here’s mine. I cut the military pretty heavily (it’s time to make butter, not guns). Plus The Osprey is just a disaster waiting to happen. It doesn’t make sense from a physics perspective. And warfare is different now. Nobody wears different coloured unforms and meets on the fielsd of battle face to face. F-135s just aren’t all that useful anymore.

    Let the Tax cuts for the rich expire but not those under $250,000 (everybody has to pay their fair share of taxes). In a down economy, middle class short term spending can be beneficial. And I insisted on a carbon tax (my thesis work). I avoided the sales tax issue as I think it’s a state’s issue.

    All in a day’s work (briskly brushes hands together).

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/11/13/weekinreview/deficits-graphic.html?choices=03t341l2

  37. filistro says:

    Jean is clear proof that brilliance and testosterone are often mutually exclusive.

  38. Gator says:

    Hey Fili

    Glad you like the avatar. Easier now that I dropped the Dad from GatorDad. Off topic but I have a question. And for you Treme. Did you notice that after the NYT 538 came online, a lot of the old-timers got ‘highlight’ status. You both did more than once. I did a couple of times. Rudy did. Even Muley had a couple. I know we’re a brilliant group (eyeroll) but it seemed like a lot. Wonder if Nate or the old staff did that? Just thought it was curious. The 10-15 old 538 posters that post there regularly seemed to get a disproportionate amount of recognition.

  39. Gator says:

    As someone who will both receive an estate and leave one, I have a different perspective. My grandfather and my father and I have all strived to increase our earnings and net worth through hard work and risk. We have been successful. We didn’t come from ‘old money’. We worked our asses off for it. And each generation did this to benefit the next generation. This is a lesson that is taught in my family: you leave the next in line more safety, more security than you were given. So when I hear you say ‘they didn’t earn it’ my response is “How dare you?” We most certainly did earn it. And we did it to specifically leave security for our children.

    And then some suggest that the government can summarily take my childrens security. That somehow the governmnet has the right to decide that what I worked all my life for, what my father and his father worked their entire lives for, is not ours to distribute. That we have no right in the determination of its use. That because my grandfather or my father or I died that our progeny have no right to the fruits of our labor, our sweat, our risk.

    It is easy for people who have not achieved this success to suggest that those who have should be stripped of their rewards in the name of ‘fairness’, but what is fair about stealing that which I have produced in order to benefit those who have not?

  40. Jean says:

    How about this solution for a quick and easy way to reduce the current deficit that confronts us?

    Deficit reduction can be immediate with the expiration of ALL the disastrous, irresponsible Bush tax cuts which are due to EXPIRE at the end of this year (2010) as the original legislation required. ALL of these Bush tax cuts should expire. Note the emphasis on “ALL” of them. Deficits arise because outgo is more than income – a simple concept to grasp.

    The median income is around $50,000 – the median means half of all earned income is above this figure and half of all earned income is below this figure. The average Bush tax cut on an income of $50,000 is $909 – or $75 per month. All individual income below $50,000 received average tax cuts of less than $909.

    The concept of revenue and income to meet expenses has been overlooked long enough. Why is it that complaining about “deficits” goes on endlessly and no attention is paid to Income. Only short-sighted persons demand the lowering of taxes and at the same time bewail the matter of “deficits”. Surely by now it has become clear that deficits are caused by a lack of the income needed to meet the requirements of the complex systems that we have developed over all these many years.

    The Deficit-Reduction Commission needs to focus on the concept of “income” and proposing to lower the top tax rate to 23% is NOT an answer. In fact, it is a ridiculous answer.

    What we need is a shared symbol of sacrifice – let ALL the Bush tax cuts expire. Everyone can sacrifice for the common good and to show that we are ALL in this together.

    Review the following numbers and locate where you stand in the follow data and determine the magnitude of your great sacrifice, effective at the end of 2010.

    Income Level and Average tax cut received in each group.

    Below $10,000. Average tax cut is $52.
    $10 – $20,000. Average tax cut is $387.
    $20 – $30,000. Average tax cut is $769.
    $30 – $40,000. Average tax cut is $894.
    $40 – $50,000. Average tax cut is $909.
    $50 – $75,000. Average tax cut is $1119.
    $75 – $100,000. Average tax cut is $1871.
    $100 – $200,000. Average tax cut is $3690.
    $200 – $500,000. Average tax cut is $7152.
    $500 – $1,000,000. Average tax cut is $17,467.
    $1,000,000+. Average tax cut is $103,835.
    As you can see the wealthy do rather well, thanks to Bush et al.

    The median income is around $50,000 with an average tax cut of $909.00. My tax cut is above this amount and I am willing to give it up for the good of the USA. I hope that you are ready to join in this effort. What will result is income of $4 trillion over 10 years. Apply that to the deficit. That would be $400 billion immediately. Not bad, and all we have to do is sit by and let it happen at the end of this year. Simply let the Bush tax cuts EXPIRE.

  41. filistro says:

    As someone who received a small estate and will leave a fairly huge one, I believe money handed to the next generation deprives them of the joy and satisfaction of building their own pile with their own smarts and effort.

    I think giving people large amounts of money they haven’t earned is the unkindest thing you can do for them. It robs them of initiative, achievement and their own sense of accomplishment.

  42. parksie555 says:

    Here’s mine:

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/11/13/weekinreview/deficits-graphic.html?choices=z24k74q1

    I think I raised taxes more than ‘Treme – maybe I really am a Democrat :). Either that or it is the influence of Mrs. Parksie.

    I am in your camp on the inheritance tax thing, Filly.

  43. filistro says:

    @parksie… I am in your camp on the inheritance tax thing, Filly.

    Thank you, it’s good to have support from a rightie I respect.. 🙂

    Did you inadvertently double-post? If so just say the word and I can remove one of them (I actually know how to do that, and feel pretty smug about it…)

  44. parksie555 says:

    Yes, accidental double post. Delete first if you would be so kind…

  45. filistro says:

    yes, parksie, I think you may just be coming over to the Light Side.

    Obviously it’s the influence of Mrs. Parksie who must not only have the patience of a saint, but be smart enough to recognize potential when she sees it in a lump of raw material 😛

  46. Gator says:

    Hey Fili

    No reply button on your post so I tried this.

    You didn’t address the true underlying issue. You simply gave me your opinion on the benefit/cost to people who inherit.

    You are entitled to your opinion of what is the best thing to do with your estate. If you feel that it would not benefit your offspring then you may decide where it goes. I ask only for the same consideration.

    And try reversing the situation. You feel very strongly that it might be detrimental to your kids. What if you DIDN’T want the money left to your children, but rather to various charities, or to be used to reduce the national deficit. What if the government then came in and said “Sorry, you don’t get to decide where your money goes, we do. And we say your children WILL get it and you don’t have any say in the decision.” What would be your reaction to the govt. making THAT decision with no regard for your intentions.

    How is it fair for someone to decide what I may or may not be allowed to leave to my children? And as an added level of unfairness, let’s not forget that the inheritance money has ALREADY been taxed as income or as capital gains. So not only will it take away a piece of my childrens’ future, it has already taken away a piece of my our present.

    BTW, if you have a HUGE estate and you’re conflicted regarding the disposition of said estate… I’m up for adoption and I assure you that I am perfectly comfortable with inheriting and can guarantee that it won’t make me unhappy!

  47. filistro says:

    I’m replying to Gator here… sorry, I’d love to adopt you but I would then immediately disinherit you and that would make you so cranky and unpleasant to have around the house. (The rest of my kids KNOW how little they stand to inherit and are just fine with it… they’re all doing great without my money.)

    And I don’t buy your convoluted “what if our situations were reversed” argument… it sounds to me like typically specious right-wing logic.

    That’s like saying, “Sure, you want to make murder illegal and that suits you just fine but what if you were me and really NEEDED to kill somebody… how happy would you be if the situation were reversed and you weren’t allowed to bump off that annoying person?”

    Because really, let’s all be frank here… it’s not exactly like your kids are going to be begging in soup kitchens if you pay a bit of tax on the amount of your estate that’s not exempt. Right?

  48. Gator says:

    It’s not specious to argue that I am a better choice to make the decisions regarding my estate. That is what you are doing. Summarily deciding what is the ‘right’ thing to do with your estate, while saying that I shouldn’t have that freedom. You want the freedom to say that your estate should NOT go to your children, but you don’t want to extend me the option to say that my estate should go to mine. I believe that is my right to decide (and yours).

    And Fili, comparing tax statutes to murder… that my darlin’ is SPECIOUS!

  49. filistro says:

    If you didn’t have kids, would you still object to an estate tax?

  50. filistro says:

    I think the “Reply” function is confusing. If you get in a serious conversation with somebody, it only sustains a few comments before running off the side of the page. And it’s easy to miss comments higher up in the thread.

    I believe we should go back to what we’re all used to… just putting all comments in linear order and quoting essential bits from the post we’re replying to.

  51. shiloh says:

    Disagree totally 🙂 as seeing Bartles disingenuous drivel run off the side of the page is half the fun! 😀

  52. Gator says:

    @ Fili

    Yep. The estate tax is inherently unfair. Every dollar that transfers has already been taxed. This means that actual tax rates on a dollar of income which then becomes an inheritance asset can be 90%. Marginal rate on income of 35% + estate tax rate of 55% (if the estate is large enough) and that last dollar is taxed from origination until receipt by inheritor @ 90%.

    I will NEVER think that any dollar should be taxed at 90%. That is quite simply theft.

  53. filistro says:

    @Gator (can’t reply above)… Every dollar that transfers has already been taxed.

    That’s such a SILLY argument. Every dollar has been taxed thousands of times. It’s taxed every time it passes through a new pair of hands. If you run a business and pay your kids to work for you, the dollars you pay them are taxed in their hands as income, even though you paid taxes on them when your business earned them.

    Why shouldn’t money you GIVE them on your death also be taxed in their hands?

  54. Gator says:

    @ Fili

    “Every dollar has been taxed thousands of times. It’s taxed every time it passes through a new pair of hands.”

    That is a silly argument. That tax liability hasn’t been mine. I haven’t been taxed on those transactions. That dollar is a dollar when I get it… then it becomes $.65 cents after I pay income tax on it…then it becomes $.30 cents when it goes to my kids. Those are tax liabilities THAT I (OR MY ESTATE)HAVE TO BEAR.

    Also, when you pay your kids (or anyone) on payroll, your business gets to expense that payroll and is NOT taxed on that. The business will pay payroll taxes but either the business or you as the owner will be able to deduct those costs from your AGI for the biz.
    You cannot compare different sections of the tax code and show consistency in methodology or purpose. There is no comparison between payroll/business taxes and personal income and estate taxes. They are different animals.

    How do you justify an effective rate of 90% taxation? Do you seriously believe that to be fair?

  55. filistro says:

    @Gator… then it becomes $.65 cents after I pay income tax on it…then it becomes $.30 cents when it goes to my kids. Those are tax liabilities THAT I (OR MY ESTATE)HAVE TO BEAR.

    No, it’s not a tax that YOU have to bear. (You’re dead… remember?)
    It’s a tax your kids have to “bear”… on money they did nothing at all to earn.
    So… always remembering that you’re DEAD… why do your kids have valid grounds for complaint no matter how much tax they have to pay on money they didn’t earn?

  56. filistro says:

    I’m going to bed now. Does somebody else want to take up Gator-wrestling? It’s really kind of fun… and he’s not nearly as fierce as he looks… 😉

  57. Gator says:

    Being dead does not mean that the government or my family assume control. Trusts set guidlines, guidelines that I made before I died, but to which the law and the parties involved are responsible… even though I’m dead. Wills stipulate many, many different things that are legally binding… even after I’m dead. The point being that I am a party to my estate as the decedent. And it is a tax on my assets, so it IS a tax that I bear (and BTW, I also stipulated the estate as well). And our legal system recognizes the rights of survivors (i.e. family members) in all manner of legal doctrine. Your survivors in fact do have a ‘right’ to complain. But underlying all of that, it IS my frickin’ money and NO ONE should be able to abscond with it. Including the government.

  58. Gator says:

    Night Fili. I really missed this! Sweet dreams.

  59. Mr. Universe says:

    I think I’ll have to take exception here. My Father’s last wishes were that I get his retirement fund. Now, sure, it was no skin off my nose that the government took 25% of that money. 75% of something is still something. But it was against my Father’s wishes. He earned that money through 30 something years of sweat equity, he should be able to dictate how it is spent, not have some arbitrary government rule take it just because he died before he could spend it. I think he actually paid taxes on it (I could be wrong about that).

    Doesn’t that strike you as…well, vulturous?

  60. Mr. Universe says:

    I’m convinced. Let them end!

  61. Gator says:

    What’s up, hoss? I like the new digs and I’m glad to be back. Ya’ done good here, you and whomever else helped. I know MW did this layout, but just running with the idea and everything… I’m applauding your persistance and follow through (no seriously I’m applauding- actually standing and clapping – the librarian looks pissed).

    As for the post, see you do have a little libertarian streak in you. Come on over to the dark side Mr U!
    LMAO!

    Kind of missed this.

  62. mclever says:

    I tried for a 50/50 split between taxes and spending:

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/11/13/weekinreview/deficits-graphic.html?choices=8326d6r8

    Question: Is there any way to view the comments chronologically rather than threaded?

  63. Mr. Universe says:

    HEY! I resemble that remark.

  64. mclever says:

    I agree, shortchain. Last time I checked, the government sector paid about 5% less than I can readily get in the private sector, even including benefits packages. And sometimes, I can do much, much better in the private sector.

  65. Mr. Universe says:

    I think I might throw this question out tomorrow. I kinda see the good points to threaded and linear. And yes, I actually have a publishing company so between me, Filistro, and DC you can probably pick up some good advice.

  66. Mr. Universe says:

    Good seeing you back too. Bama not doing so well this year. But it looks like Auburn may face off with the Ducks. The Ducks look like a ballet. It’s amazing.

  67. mclever says:

    Thanks, Mr. U! 🙂

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