Fiscal Policy the Three Major Categories of Essay

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Fiscal Policy

The three major categories of revenue for the federal government are individual income taxes, corporate income taxes and social insurance taxes. The most important of these are the individual income taxes, which represent 55.1% of the total budget revenues, or $1.396 trillion. The second-most important revenue category is the social insurance taxes, which account for $978 billion, or 34.6% of the total budget revenues. The third-most important category is the corporate income taxes, which amount to $290 billion, or 10.3% of total budget revenues. The "other" category of revenues accounts for the remaining 5.7% of total budget revenues.

The three major categories of expenditures are mandatory spending, discretionary spending and interest. The largest of these is mandatory spending, which accounts for $1.914 trillion, or 57.5% of total outlays. The second-most important category of spending is the discretionary spending, which accounts for $1.189 trillion, or 35.2% of total budget outlays. Interest accounts for $220 billion, or 6.6% of total budget outlays.

3. As Chief Economic Adviser to the President of the United States, I would have the following to say about the deficit reduction proposals listed in Fried (2010). The total deficit in 2011 is project to be $498 billion, which is 14.9% of the total budget and 3.3% of GDP. The first proposal outlined in the article is the first I agree with - to overhaul the individual taxation system. The different proposals listed therein are short on specifics -- it matters as to what rate changes fall to what taxpayers. Key elements of tax reform -- getting rid of the Bush tax cuts and taxing capital gains as income -- will certainly increase individual tax revenue. A new sales tax would increase individual tax revenue, or create a new tax category. In any event, there is little political will for a nationwide sales tax or even for changing the way that capital gains are taxed. If these options were feasible, they would be recommended as a strong starting point for increasing individual taxation revenue.

The Domenici-Rivlin proposal to reduce corporate tax rates would reduce corporate tax revenue. There is no evidence that this would do anything to raise tax revenue anywhere else, unless it was coupled with a move to tax capital gains as income. In that situation, firms might have more profits but their shareholders would pay far more tax on those profits. Firms would likely pay more dividends, so it might be important to keep the dividend tax rate equal to the capital gains tax rate. I would not support this if there is no effort to increase tax rates on capital gains and dividends as without those things a lower corporate tax rate would only increase the deficit.

With respect to social security plans, the Simpson-Bowles plan is worthless. The policy of raising the normal retirement age, but only after the bulk of the baby boomers -- already the wealthiest generation in history - get their money, is ridiculous. The upcoming baby boomer retirements and corresponding entitlements that are going to cause the greatest stress on the national budget; dealing with the deficit requires curtailing entitlements to the wealthiest generation in American history. Kicking the can down the road on social security is a cop-out that does nothing to address the deficit situation any time soon. Raising the upper limit on the social security tax would generate more revenue right away, which is going to be needed if there are not going to be any pending benefit cuts.

The Medicare plan is said to generate $85 billion over ten years, which at an average of $8.5 billion per year does not make a serious contribution to deficit reduction (1.7% of the deficit in 2011). There are other savings as well, but they are minor and neither plan addresses the only serious solution to Medicare funding -- means testing. Paying…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited:

CBO (2009). The budget and economic outlook: Fiscal years 2009 to 2019. Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved February 9, 2013 from http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/ftpdocs/99xx/doc9957/01-07-outlook.pdf

Fried, C. (2010). Deficit reduction proposals: What they could mean for you. CBS Moneywatch. Retrieved February 9, 2013 from http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-41141567/deficit-reduction-proposals-what-they-could-mean-for-you/?tag=mwuser

Moffat, M. (2013). Aggregate demand and aggregate supply practice question. About.com. Retrieved February 9, 2013 from http://economics.about.com/od/aggregatedemandsupply/ss/aggregate.htm

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