The debt and balanced budgets are intertwined. You cannot address the debt without first addressing balancing each year’s budget. America has only balanced three budgets in my lifetime of 56 years, and even those three may not have actually balanced as they did not address unfunded liabilities. Despite their “small government” rhetoric, the Republicans are every bit as responsible for the growth of the debt as the Democrats. The two major parties each look the other way when it comes to spending - each allows the other to spend on what they want in return for the reciprocal favor. With the current debt at $20 Trillion - that’s $20 million million - and unfunded liabilities of at least six times that amount - we are on a course of heading towards insolvency if we do not start immediately to both balance each budget AND pay down the debt. Currently (in 2018), 22 cents out of every dollar spent goes towards interest on the debt. That is money wasted, with no benefits to anyone other than the banking system. I would never vote for a budget bill that was not balanced and that did not pay down the debt at by at least 2%.
How can we balance the budget? I would start with revenue estimates. Revenue estimates are always overly optimistic which lead to budget shortfalls at the end of the year. Use last year’s revenues for for your baseline budget instead of projected revenues. The first thing that you put into the budget is “paying down 2% of the debt”. Whatever is left is what you have for your budget. If you cannot agree on WHAT to cut, then everything gets cut proportionally to what you have available. That is, if you only have 90% of the revenues that you need for what you want to spend, then EVERYTHING gets cut by 10%.
How can we make reasonable, responsible cuts? How about cutting the salaries of federal bureaucrats? Take the highest salaries and cut them across the board by 25%. No one needs to make $200,000 a year in a government job. Make gradually decreasing cuts down to the salary levels of $60,000. For example, $200,000 salaries should be cut by 25%. $180,000 salaries should be cut by 22%. $160,000 salaries by 19%.
Trim the size of the federal bureaucracy. Simply eliminate positions based on natural attrition. Just don’t replace lower level staff as people quit until you get under your budget.
We spend more on our military than the next six nations combined - and some of those nations are our allies! I want to INCREASE the size of benefits to veterans - anyone who is injured or suffering long-term disabilities due to their military service deserves to have treatment for life. But I would decrease spending on hardware. I would also want to reduce the size of our nuclear arsenal and try to get other nations to do the same thing.
These things are just a start, but if we don’t do these things VERY soon, we will be facing insolvency and bankruptcy as a country, or even worse, hyperinflation due to the overprinting of money.