Essay by:
Ryan Wilson
Emporia State University

The United States government is like the rich child who has a large hole in his pocket—every time he moves, large bills scatter into the wind, where one will never see them again. This problem continues even now, as the debt clock racks up astronomical amounts of money that the United States owes to itself and other countries. When it receives these loans, it does not repay these financial obligations. Instead, it continues to borrow even more, and this rich child becomes even greedier, wanting and demanding more without realizing the consequences of borrowing money. The challenge the nation faces with its debt issues will not just affect the rich, but it will also make the standard of living worse for all. Therefore, it is time that we take a stand and find innovative ways to solve this constant issue. Through changing our methods of taxation through both changing income taxes and cutting pork barrel spending, the United States can begin moving forward on controlling its outrageous spending problem.

Taxation, especially income taxes, has always been a headache for almost all United States citizens every year. Indeed, every year, millions of people hit “crunch time” when the magical date of April 15 rolls around. Through the collections of W-2s, either scrambling to do it by oneself or finding a tax collection agency, doing income taxes is not a fun project for anyone. In fact, it is not even an effective form of taxation of all. Through the way that social security and Medicare are now, the United States has implemented a regression tax. In other words, when one makes a certain income, the tax that they pay is a fixed rate once they have raked in a large enough income. This, simply put, taxes the poor person more than it taxes the richer person, hence widening the gap among low, middle, and high socio-economic statuses. This is not healthy for the economy, and it lowers the standard of living for us all.

We should instead have families report their income by April 15, but pay no more income taxes. In lieu of this dreaded regression tax, the U.S. should increase the sales tax, on many items, and that would be the only tax given. In addition to this, the United States should set up individualized retirement accounts for people into which one can invest to secure retirement. This will rid the need for Social Security and Medicare, which is an economic pitfall in the end. By going completely to sales taxes, an individual or family unit can pay their taxes immediately, so there is no guesswork at the end of how much money they owe for income taxes. In addition, this rids the headache of income taxes.

Since we do not wish to hinder those who have invested in Social Security, the government should pay back all citizens who the government forced to invest into it, and help them set up an individualized account. Though the older generation will be unhappy with this, it is necessary for the United States to implement this to ensure a healthier deficit in the end. This could easily pass if the younger generation went to the polls and outvoted the elderly people. Since the government will finally have ridden itself of Social Security and Medicare, it can stop having to poor unnecessary funds into it, and begin to ease the deficit problem. Especially since the government no longer is holding the funds captive, all of this extra money that was invested in these programs, in addition to the large amounts of wealth that people will invest for their retirement accounts, will go to capital goods, which will enrich the economy for the United States as a whole.

Fixing the Social Security and Medicare problem is not enough. No, the government needs to stop pork barrel spending as well. Pork barrel spending, called pork for short, is government issued funds that come directly from taxpayers to programs or projects that are supposed to benefit the public. While this sounds serendipitous in theory, in reality, it robs the private sector, or other motivated individuals into which they could invest their time, from doing the same job more effectively. Oddly enough, Social Security and Medicare could follow under this definition, where the individuals are the average U.S. citizen! Another prime example of pork barrel spending is the channel PBS, the Public Broadcasting Station. Although many enjoy this channel, which provides operas, musicals, and children’s shows, and art-related television programs, taxpayers should not have to pay their hard-earned money on such an investment. In fact, if the government would stop wasting the citizens’ of United States money on such a frivolous cause, then many private individuals who find this channel valuable would easily fund it, and the government could refocus this money on the deficit.

In conclusion, these are simply two ways the government could help ease the ever-growing deficit. If only more people knew of the banes that Social Security and Medicare have placed upon our economical well-beings, they would realize that it is their duty and job, even if the government were to help, to ensure a successful retirement. In addition, the government needs to realize that it cannot keep spending money it clearly does not have on pork. No business in their right mind would operate so deeply in the red on such unnecessary luxuries, so why should our government, our very elected officials, do the same? It is time to act now, voice opinions on how to stop the madness the government has created. Though it worked at one time, we have clearly moved into the twenty-first century, and the United States people need a wind of change. Too bad the only wind they are feeling now is their money being blown away, forever lost to the wind.

Re: The Porkalicious Rich Kid: The US and its Deficit Problem

Okay, okay, so I'm going to comment on my own.

I really did my best here on the essay, and though there might be a couple of typographical errors, I can easily fix them with a new draft if needed. I really gave my opinion on what I felt was necessary to fix the deficit problem. Sadly, since this is confined to only a certain number of words, there are many other ways I feel that the government could help tackle this on-growing problem. Everyone has some great ideas, and I enjoy reading all of the essays thus far. :)

-Ryan Wilson

Re: The Porkalicious Rich Kid


You've made a passionate argument here, and have made excellent use of imagery. That said, it feels like your work is long on rhetoric and short on facts.

Do we not have an obligation to our seniors, many of whom have worked for this country for decades, to help provide for them in their old age? They also paid into Social Security for most if not all of their working lives, but their money has already been spent. Do they not also deserve a "refund"? Would it perhaps not make more sense to find a way to finance the existing and near-future Social Security claimants rather than refunding working adults who may have decades to put away for retirement? Further, Social security is not just a retirement fund, but also a safety net for people unable to work. What of those Americans who, due to no fault of their own, have been crippled on the job, or families who have been deprived of their primary wage earner? Do they not deserve some sort of support?

You make an excellent point about the need to reduce pork barrel spending, but I think you've picked a poor target in PBS. With PBS is actually a private, non-profit enterprise. Further, according to their own 2008 financial report (available here: their government funding totaled only about $53 million last year, which accounted for less than 16% of their total operating revenue. Yes pork needs to be cut, but can we do it without taking away a what amounts to pocket change from Big Bird and the Cookie Monster?

Benjamin J. Howard
Emporia State University
Major: Social Sciences

Re: The Porkalicious Rich Kid:

Interesting ideas on Social Security. The idea of each person getting ONLY and ALL of what they put into their individual account appeals to me though.

Re: The Porkalicious Rich Kid:

Hi, yes, I agree that the U.S. is wasting money. This is a great essay, and it is well written.

Re: The Porkalicious Rich Kid: The U.S. and its Deficit Problem

Love this! An excellent essay full of excellent ideas. I most definitely agree that we need to cut the pork (I don't like pork anyway) and voice our opinions. My only question is, what happens if they don't listen?

-*Christine Fraker*-

Re: The Porkalicious Rich Kid: The U.S. and its Deficit Problem

The title really caught my attention, and I very much enjoyed your essay and the wonderful ideas you put into it. Great job!
Sara Ledy

The Porkalicious Rich Kid: The U.S. and its Deficit Problem

Ryan, you really should be proud of this essay. I think it is the best one I have read. You are such a great writer, but more importantly your views and ideas on how to fix the economy are outstanding! Can I be on your campaign when you run for President? -DeZ Rude

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