Dear Future President:
After this unique election, I would like to congratulate you on your success. As you know, the United States has a nineteen trillion dollar debt. As a high school senior and a constituent, I urge you to consider some of the measures below for balancing the national budget and taking steps to begin paying down our debt load. According to the US Treasury Department, our national debt at the time I am writing this letter is over nineteen trillion dollars. Looking at the trend over the past fifteen years we are going more in debt to the tune of just under one trillion dollars per year. According to trading economics we are now one of only eleven countries in the world whose national debt exceeds their gross domestic production. By contrast Russia’s debt is only 17% of their GDP. Control of our debt has to start today or we risk massive instability in our country. The following budget cuts or policy changes would stop the growth of our national debt.
- Cut defense spending: This may be a tough sell. However, our military is stronger if our country is stronger as well. Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics we could save $136B with a 25% reduction of our military ops, personnel, and procurement, even if we increased our research and development by 10%.
- Social Security cuts: in the 50 years after SS was formed 20% more 21 year olds lived to be 65. The retirement age for SS benefits should be adjusted proportionally to achieve a 20% reduction in program costs, or a savings of $176B.
- Tobacco pay higher premiums for Medicare: according to Routers 90% of US healthcare spending is due to tobacco usage. Raise the copays for tobacco users from 10% to 15%. Life insurance plans cost more for tobacco users, so should health plans. This would save $100B.
- Raise taxes: not to put new spending in place, but rather to pay down the debt. Once the debt is paid down the new taxation should be tapered off. An average of $1,365 per US person will bring $430B into play and close the remaining $830B budget gap.
Our country must commit to balancing the budget, and subsequently should tackle paying down our massive debt. The need to balance our budget is not politics, it is a fact. The future of our country depends on its solid financial standing to be able to support our military, provide for our seniors towards the end of their lives, and have comprehensive and affordable healthcare for all.