American Morning

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July 26th, 2011
04:37 AM ET

Question of the Day: If you had the budget ax, what would you cut first and what would you keep?

(CNN) - Last night, President Barack Obama called on the American public to pressure elected officials to work out a compromise to raise the federal debt ceiling and avoid a potentially devastating default.

The president's speech was intended to convince an increasingly frustrated and concerned public that Obama's approach to dealing with mounting deficits is better for working class Americans and the nation as a whole.

In a televised response, Boehner argued the opposite, saying that excessive government spending caused the problems the nation faces and cutting that spending is the only way to solve the problem.

American Morning wants to know: If you had the budget ax, what would you cut first and what would you keep?

Post your response here. Your answer could be included in this morning's broadcast.

Filed under: AM Asks
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Randall

    I would say to stop paying congress, and the senate, but they are payed so much from special interest that it wouldn't even effect them.

    July 26, 2011 at 8:16 am |
  2. Cindy Jenks

    I think the American people are aghast at the tea party terrorists who are in lock-step with the Al-Qaeda stated agenda of bringing the United States to financial ruin. By holding the US economy hostage to their demands, they are making a very loud statement that they don't care about America, only care about getting their way . It is mindboggling that the Republicans that are responsible haven't convinced them that their oath of loyalty to the United States of America supersedes the oath of no taxes they made to Norquist. They have repeatedly stated they will not negotiate and will only accept the plan they have put forth and they are willing to destroy our civilization to accomplish their stated goal of bringing down the Obama Presidency. Americans are so very tired of it all. We should not negotiate with terrorists. President Obama should put an end to it and invoke the 14th Amendment. The idea that tax cuts and loophole closings for the very rich would damage our economy while cutting Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and gutting the Government would not cost jobs is ludicrous. They simply want to privitize everything. Maybe, since Congress has proved itself useless, we should privitize them. At least cut their salaries, benefits, perks and ability to turn lobbyist after their terms. It should be an honor and a priviledge , as it was in the early years of our Country, to serve as a member of Congress. Keep the middle class viable. They are the ones who pay the taxes! Enough!!!

    July 26, 2011 at 8:16 am |
  3. Jeff

    First, why raise at all? It is time to tighten the belt and pay our debts. It will hurt but we need to cut across the board. And, we need to pay more for a while to get it done once and for all. Why is no one talking about what it would take to get it done without raising – all we hear is what would go wrong if we did not raise it and apparently did nothing else to settle the debts either?

    July 26, 2011 at 8:16 am |
  4. Bob in Houston

    I would put a new tax on the wealthy that is based on their ability to pay. I do not think it is fair that the rich enjoy these low tax rates when there are Americans worried about where their next meal is going to come from.

    July 26, 2011 at 8:16 am |
  5. mike

    #1 cut all Congress and Senate that are in Washington , they don't care about anyone but themselves
    #2 Quit sending money to other country's until we get our problem fixed
    #3 put all congress and senate on social security when they retire
    #4 put term limits on all elected officials so that they will work for the people instead of themselves

    July 26, 2011 at 8:15 am |
  6. kayla

    I agree with Patrick – cut the salaries and benefits of Congress and Senate! Also, here's an example of the inflated salaries at the local level. The News Journal in Daytona Beach published the salaries for public employees in the area and it's an outrage!;

    July 26, 2011 at 8:14 am |
  7. Tex

    Cut the pay checks to congress, see how long they will hold out. Without tax increases on the big corps. and top 1% you cant lower debt. It has been proven that trickel down economics dont work. You have to increase the reveneus, it is proven that jobs are not increased by giving tax breaks to wealthy companies, and the wealthiest people. cutting social benifits to the poorest people only causes more stagnation.

    July 26, 2011 at 8:14 am |
  8. Michael

    This is easy. Increase the tax on the wealthy. Decrease politicans salaries. Decrease military spending while keeping care of our arm service personel. Decrease tax breaks of big corporations.

    July 26, 2011 at 8:13 am |
  9. tribalscribal

    So glad you asked! The sacred cow of the Pentagon (sounds like a cult, yes?) has so much waste and fraud that it boggles the mind they have never really faced any realistic accounting. We can cut the military budget a few gazzilion dollars and still be the strongest nation on Earth. Next, do the filthy rich really need another yacht or vacation home? We don't think so! There was a time in America when the wealthy paid their fair share. No more. These days they seem consumed by so much greed that they are willing to destroy the nation in the misguided belief that they will still be safe in their million dollar fortresses. Tax the rich/Save the nation.

    July 26, 2011 at 8:13 am |
  10. Carl

    Increase spending to stimulate jobs. When the rich were getting their tax cuts there was no talk of budget deficits. Now they're deciding how much the middle class should sacrifice, and suddenly the debt is an emergency. The job market needs more demand, and that will only come from government spending, so this is all a manufactured disaster.

    July 26, 2011 at 8:13 am |
  11. raise the ceiling

    The debt ceiling has nothing to do with cuts, jobs or spending. Its all about who is President. Companies send their manufacturing oversees to places like China while we here stay jobless.

    July 26, 2011 at 8:12 am |
  12. Bob Lake Orion

    Cut back Medicare. Stop the damage to our elderly as hospitals warehouse them, draining their Medicare benefits. Fix or end Medicare.

    July 26, 2011 at 8:09 am |
  13. mary Van Dyke

    Is congresses servers back up yet???

    July 26, 2011 at 8:08 am |
  14. Mark

    For the current 2011 fiscal year (that ends 9/30/11), federal income tax collected is projected to be 14.4% of the size of the economy and spending outlays have been estimated to be 25.3% of the size of the economy (source: Office of Management and Budget).

    So compromize – Meet in the middle – Cut all expendatures 21% and increase all tax rates 38%.

    July 26, 2011 at 8:07 am |
  15. Charles

    In my opinion we need to separate all of these issues and tackle them all as individual issues. Major shocks to our economy will hurt more that minor shifts in a direction.
    The first thing I would cut is money spent outside the US. For example our military count in not fighting locations such as Japan, Germany and other non fighting places.
    The next thing I would cut is support for other countries infrastructure.
    The third thing I would cut is medical coverage for things that are life choice decision, such as the sex enhancement drugs.
    The next thing I would go after is social security. I am sure there are cuts that need to be made.
    But all of these things need to be done on their own merit, not based on something else

    July 26, 2011 at 8:04 am |
  16. Chezzie

    . The key is to increase revenues, and a good place to start is by increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans. We won't mind paying. We, or our children,, typically, don't serve in the military, so let us help by paying our fair share. Quite frankly, we pay less now than we ever have. Many of us are in the business of making money,,,I mean that literally...that's it. That's all many of us do. We don't provide needed services; we don't heal the sick, teach our children, build bridges or provide needed goods or services. Not noble, but it is a lifestyle. Why isn't anyone calling for eliminating the income cap on Social Security? Besides, Social Security has never increased the deficit, and has run a surplus which has been "tapped into" to pay for "other" things. Paying back that borrowed money taken from the S.S. trust fund would be honest and just and would help with future solvency. As an aside, I had been a Republican for most of my life. I have changed to Independent (now strongly leaning Democratic.). I can;t stomach the stupidity, greed and dishonesty of the current Republican party. They are an embarrassment to this country and are making a mockery of governance. Enough said....raise my taxes. It's the least I can do..

    July 26, 2011 at 8:04 am |
  17. chris sinner

    raise taxes on the wealthy, (duhh) stop all foreign aid for five to ten years, with hold the salaries of those idiots in the house and senate(they clearly aren't capable of doing there jobs), and stop spending the billions of dollars spent every year on marijuana drug enforcement!!! legalize it, tax it, SERIOUSLY i live in the middle of the country and no matter how many busts we make, people just laugh and still have it everyday!!! A man told me once : ( iv'e been smoking marijuana since the 70's, and have never been able to not score whenever I wanted!!!!) i'm humiliated to be part of such a worthless waste of america's money!!

    July 26, 2011 at 7:06 am |
  18. Joel

    Our Defense spending(#1 in the world) is more than the next 9 countries combined! So Defense needs a major hair-cut. Senators get paid at the top 2% of all Americans they need to contribute more to their ample benifits after a cut in annual pay. I would keep and increase EDUCATION. Law makers talk about saddling our kids with this debt-mageddon whiloe cutting education. Our kids won't be able to do the math to find out it doesnt add up.

    July 26, 2011 at 7:05 am |
  19. Todd Little

    I'm not sure what this would fall under, but.. How about cutting the funds that change the signs of English to Spanish.. because illegal Latinos can't speak or read, English? How about Cutting the Staff at the White House? Lots of Americans have lost their jobs over the last year. So if its crunch time.. how about sending a unemployment check to them?

    July 26, 2011 at 7:05 am |
  20. Robert

    Cut congressional and administrational salaries. Don't touch military salaries, veteran employee salaries, and veteran benefits.

    July 26, 2011 at 6:59 am |
  21. Michelle

    1. Don't send so much aid to other countries all the time. It is good to help others, but if you are sitting there with a broken body, you need to get your own help first. Basically, take care of our own country first before we start helping other countries so much. Then and only then, once the budget is back in order you could start helping again.

    2. Stop all the frivolous spending on things such as an expensive hammers or the like when you can probably get a better or equivalent hammer for less at somewhere like Lowe's.

    3. Require all government employees to pay for things out of their own pockets such as their meals and force them to use their own cars, not government funded cars that are paid for by tax payer's money.

    4. Require the larger corporations that are making over $100,000,000 per year to pay a larger tax fee. (I did not say individuals on this one, just the mass corporations where we buy most of our goods anyway.)

    5. Don't touch vital programs such as social security, veterans' checks or disability. In fact some law should be put into place that these would not be touched in the future. Keep in mind these people rely on the income that was already promised to them to help pay for food, shelter and basic necessities.

    6. Rather than keeping things like unemployment so long term, give people the opportunity to go to class to better themselves to get a better job and have it set up that they could be hired by the government for a small amount of time to test them out and then actually assist them in securing a job. There you go, you just added another tax payer into the system by this simple method. I don't know what else to do since I am only one person, but I know for a fact I am not the only one who feels this way. You could cut the current unemployment from 3 years to 26 months like it used to be.

    7. Take and cut out some of the tax breaks that are unnecessary for those companies already making a ton of money.

    8. Things like welfare you could still keep, but cut entitlement down for depend rates down to a maximum of two dependent children. If they have more kids than that then it's on them. In other words, stop rewarding people for having more kids.

    9. As far as health care as it stands, I know for quite a number of us already our health care is not completely covered and we are paying out of our pockets.

    10. Take some of the troops out of places where agreements have been made to protect some of the other countries, aka Japan and the like. Basically have them renegotiate some type of term where they pay our military to continue to stay in those countries if they like us defending them so much. In other words, let them pay our military personnel's pay for the period they serve. I am unsure how you all would go about that one, but it's a thought.

    July 26, 2011 at 6:54 am |
    • Fred McMillion, Jr.

      I agree with this thoughtful insight. Making other countries pay to have American troops stay is ideal. Also put all military Contracts on hold. Making it up to the Companies that are making billions, see how patiotic they are

      July 26, 2011 at 8:05 am |
    • kathy stauffer

      You are 100 percent right on target.

      July 26, 2011 at 8:11 am |
  22. Ellie

    I would axe the salaries of all 535 members of Congress. Also, require the 261 members who are multi-millionaires to pay back the salary increases that they paid themselves; repeal the bill that automatically gives the members their annual cost of living increases. In addition, SET TERM LIMITS FOR SENATORS AND MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REP.

    July 26, 2011 at 6:53 am |
  23. steph

    I would cut the tax deduction for foreign taxes paid by companies located abroad. Perhaps if they did not get tax breaks for locating factories in other countries they would move back.

    July 26, 2011 at 6:53 am |
  24. Laurie Edwards

    If it's my choice I take a blunt axe to the military, to large corporations, and to anyone making above $200,000/year. I prop up entitlement programs–everything from Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid to student loans, after school programs, and food banks. What can I say? I'm an old-fashioned liberal Democrat; I believe in helping the average people.

    July 26, 2011 at 6:51 am |
  25. Lana

    Start with the do nothing congress.

    July 26, 2011 at 6:50 am |
  26. grooveboy

    I would eliminate the social security cap limit so that millionaires & billionaires would have to pay into the system according to their income and anyone earning over $125,000 a year could not collect a SS check unless their income fell below this amount or if they had any medical hardships.

    I would remove all tax loops for individual earing over $250,000 & any married couple over $500,0000.
    I would also make it law that no company can pay any of its employees more than $ 2 million a year regardless of stock options.

    The rest would be split among the rest of the workers so that everyone in that company could be well off.

    No company that is going bankrupt would be able to pay some CEO millions of dollars in compensation while the rest of it's workers must scramble to make a living.

    July 26, 2011 at 6:47 am |
  27. Suzanne

    I have to wonder what would be happening if Baby Boehner were not 'Speaker of the House'. This man is the reason there has not been a compromise. The difference between President Obama and Boehner is that Boehner lacks the intelligence to substantiate his opinions. Start by cutting his income so he is will not be affected by tax increases to the rich and maybe then he will seriously consider a compromise.

    July 26, 2011 at 6:47 am |
  28. Kathy

    I am an independent and, since Obama has been elected, I have yet to hear a YES from a Republican on any comprise to keep our govt functioning. All I see is elected officials tried to keep their jobs while other Americans are loosing theirs. It is time for the politicans to pay their share of social security and medical benefits. Yes, to brining home the troops but keep those left safely defended, yes raise taxes on the wealthier American..duhh and close the loopholes. It is time to get our own house together before extending help to others. Our seniors have worked long for their benefits and are struggling to pay for is obscene. Most important is time for politicans to stop using this situation as a soundng board for their own political desires...get it together and get it done....Really am taking second look at how Repubicans do things and not liking it...

    July 26, 2011 at 6:41 am |
  29. Richard

    Cut all foreign aid, said to be 25 billion per year, followed by Congressional and White house salaries. Reduce pensions for retired members of Congress, while raising health care premiums and co-payments if means testing indicates members continue to qualify for health care benefits.

    July 26, 2011 at 6:38 am |
    • Maasie

      Sounds like an excellent start!

      July 26, 2011 at 8:03 am |
  30. Donald Lawson

    If I had my way I would cut all the senators and congressmans salary. Around 1/2 or better are millionaires, and their salaries are close to $200.000 yearly. Plus the perks they get. They are not earning their money. We need results. I would keep the Presidents salary as is. He is Trying very hard.

    July 26, 2011 at 6:34 am |
  31. Patrick

    Cut the salaries and benefits of Congress and the Senate. Let them feel what life is like for most Americans.

    July 26, 2011 at 6:33 am |
  32. Kahdir

    Where to begin...
    Cut military spending down to no greater than 50% of government spending. Do this by not paying $900 for a wrench that can be purchased for $9.
    Next, close tax loopholes for corporations outsourcing jobs. Having your headquarters in the US is not enough to counter production overseas.
    Reduce spending on studies. There should be a public vote considering our tax dollars are funding some ridiculous things.

    I'll post more as they com to mind.

    July 26, 2011 at 6:33 am |