Yesterday, McHenry County Blog told of the opening statements of U.S. Senator Mark Kirk and Congressmen Don Manzullo and Joe Walsh. Today we start with Dr. Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute and the first of the one-hour question and answer session.
The scholar on the panel, Dr. Andrew Biggs, talked of how governments have tried to dig out from under a mountain of debt.
He said the Congressional Budget Office has projected that an increase of 25% of all Federal taxes, including Social Security taxes, would “stabilize debt in 20 years.”
Having looked at 100 such efforts by various countries, Biggs said 80% had failed.
The ones that had succeeded had combined 85% in decreased spending with 15% in increased taxes. The unsuccessful ones had combined 45% spending cuts with 55% tax hikes.
The Obama Deficit Commission proposed cutting $2 for every $1 in tax increases.
The restructuring in the United Kingdom “relies much more on decreasing spending than increasing taxes,” Briggs said.
Next came the turn for questioners, who had lined up behind microphones at the back corners of the auditorium.
Kirk responded to a question on Obamacare by pointing out the perverse incentives for small employers to drop health insurance for their employees. The law provides a mandate to provide health insurance if one has over fifty employees or pay a $2,000 fine.
Kirk pointed out that the fine would undoubtedly be the cheapest alternative.
“You’re going to be dropped. In a tough economy millions will be dropped.”
His alternative to Obamacare was three-fold:
- a Medical Rights Act that would guarantee no interference between doctor and patient
- lawsuit reform
- allowing people to buy health insurance from any state, much as they can buy auto insurance from any state.
A doctor from Barrington wanted to use a lot more than the 90 allotted seconds to talk about governmental corruption. I never did figure out what corruption she wanted targeted.
Another said, “There should be no czars. This is not Russia.”
Objection was made to Congress’ passing legislation during a lame duck session.
Bill Parrot asked Kirk about his vote to end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the military regarding homosexuality.
Kirk replied that he had talked to the Chief of Naval Operations and been told that California judges were playing havoc with recruiting by constantly changing the rules. Kirk pointed out that three service leaders were in favor of the law with the Marine leader disagreeing.
A Crystal Laker asked about which entitlements should be curbed.
Walsh pointed to Social Security, saying that everything should be on the table. He specifically mentioned means testing and increasing the retirement age, plus allowing “the next generation to invest and save for the retirement.”
Manzullo pushed ROTH IRA’s in which after-tax money is allowed to accumulate and be withdrawn tax-free.
Kirk said that “a ray of hope” existed because Dr. Tom Coburn, whom he labeled as the most conservative U.S. Senator, and Sen. Dick Durbin, “almost the most liberal,” both endorsed the the President’s Deficit Commission recommendations.
More of the questions and answers tomorrow.