Federal budget mess: Six ways to fix it
Surprise! It turns out America's problem with runaway budget deficits is solvable, after all. That, at least, is the opinion of some prominent think thanks that have been offering ready-made blueprints.
6. Roosevelt Institute Campus Network
This group presents the perspective of college-age Americans, with input from more than 1,000 young people helping to set its priorities. The group says its plan reflects the Millennial Generation's "deep concern for America's fiscal future."
Taxes. Overall federal tax revenue would rise to 22.9 percent of GDP by 2035, similar to the CBO baseline.
• Adjusts income tax rates, resulting in modest tax cut most people, and a modest hike for high-income earners.
• Eliminates mortgage interest deduction, cuts many other deductions in half.
• Adds carbon tax, while repealing the gas tax.
Spending. Federal spending would fall to 24.8 percent of GDP in 2035 from the CBO baseline of 28.3 percent.
• Reduces defense spending to 2.9 percent of GDP.
• Increases spending in some areas (education, energy, anti-poverty) while cutting in others.
Entitlements. Spending on health and Social Security programs would be restrained to 13.5 percent of GDP in 2035, below the CBO baseline of 16 percent.
• Reforms Medicare payment systems.
• Adds a "public option" health insurance plan for those under retirement age.
• Raises cap on Social Security payroll tax, up to 90 percent of worker earnings.
Deficit or surplus. Deficit of 1.8 percent of GDP in 2035, versus a 5 percent deficit in CBO baseline.
Debt. The plan brings public debt down to about 64 percent of GDP by 2035. That's big progress, but not as big as some of the other plans.