John Q. Public out here is disgusted and would give anything to have a more functional government with a sensible "grand bargain" in place to end the recurring nonsense in Washington. Anybody who looks independently at the numbers immediately sees the need to work on both the revenue and expense side of the equation, with everyone sacrificing a bit.
But where to begin? Let's start with Medicare, which should be "peace of mind" insurance instead of a welfare system for the elderly. With things as they are today, each average two-income retiring couple will cost $200,000 more in benefits than their contributions. Sounds impossible, but check the Urban Institute for detailed studies. Other cases are more lopsided.
We need more revenue as cuts will not suffice to turn the corner. Why should many money managers pay the low capital gains rate on their income derived from investing other people's money -- courtesy of the so-called 1922 law called "carried interest"? Warren Buffett is right. He should pay a higher marginal rate than his secretary.
Unfortunately, only a handful of somewhat bipartisan senators are now willing to admit the obvious and make some tough choices. The president must also lead the way instead of letting others slug it out. Let's hold everyone's feet to the fire until we have a fiscally sane, long-term agreement. Then our economy will finally take off.
William I. Griffith