Podcast discussion about National Debt worth listening to

I just listened to this over the last couple of days in my car and thought some folks here might find it worth listening to. The folks on the panel represent a remarkable collection of experts - not all of whom agree, of course, and some of whom present some ideas that I, personally, found rather distasteful. But all of it is quite thoughtful.
It's just a little dated in that they do discuss the then-impending expiration of the 2001 tax cuts, but given that they've mostly just kicked the can down the road by a couple of years, that's not much of a loss.
National Debt: The Threat and Potential Solutions
David Walker, Former U.S. Comptroller General; Former Head, U.S. Government Accountability Office Robert L. Bixby, Executive Director, The Concord Coalition Michael Boskin, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution; Professor of Economics, Stanford University; Chairman, President George H.W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisors Isabel Sawhill, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution Tom Campbell, Visiting Professor of Economics and Law, Chapman University; Former Director of Finance, State of Calfornia; Former Member of the Joint Economic Committee, U.S. Congress - Moderator
We are inundated with facts and figures that support the argument that the U.S. government is headed toward fiscal crisis, yet we rarely read or hear a discussion of how such a crisis can be avoided. Experts with years of front-line experience in the fiscal jungle of Washington share their ideas on what steps should be taken now to place the nation on a sustainable course of fiscal responsibility.
This program was recorded in front of a live audience at The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on September 23, 2010
Reply to
BreadWithSpam
I wish the panel had included more numbers to illustrate their adjectives! Some of the verbiage in the link below actually detracts from the facts presented: the top 5% pay 50% of taxes collected.
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One of the problems we face as a voting population is that the facts - even big, summary facts - are not widely known, or if known, then apparently people would rather substitute their personal biases (a dangerous condition), than observe the facts. Looking at various numbers I make it that over 50% of Federal expenditures are in the categories of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Safety Net. Recently, I've asked various people what the biggest slice of the budget is. Most have immediately replied "Military." In fact, Defense and security are about 20%, and we are engaged in two land wars as well a very heightened security. (One replied, "The national debt" - I almost laughed in their face, but recognized that at least they were trying.)
Reply to
dapperdobbs
That actually appears to be correct, going by the OMB's use of the term "Defense and Security". At 22%, its the largest slice on this pie chart:
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Reply to
bo peep
Do you know where to get data on how much is paid into medicare/ medicaid as contrasted to how much is paid out? Social security is, I believe, floating around break-even (until the boomers begin drawing in larger numbers).
Reply to
dapperdobbs
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Wish I hadn't asked. Thank you for the link - it got me started looking into the whole mess - and it is a mess. "Who pays for what" involves various layers of people, public and private sectors, determining just that, and from a brief overview it looks more complicated than the tax code. Wikipedia also has data.
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(United_States)
Reply to
dapperdobbs
On Medicare and Medicaid --
elderly parent, users of Medicare and Medicaid do not suffer nearly the torture as users of the federal system for collecting taxes. (Medicare Part D, prescription drug coverage maybe excepted.) Of course both could be better.
Reply to
Elle

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