What are you willing to give up to reduce the federal debt?

What are you willing to live without?

To reduce the ballooning federal debt, some metro Atlantans say they are willing to make a sacrifice, AJC staffers Craig Schneider and Katie Leslie report.

Others do not support cuts that would directly impact their families.

How about you? Willing to tolerate Social Security or Medicare cuts, or live without a mortgage deduction?

Or do you think you’ve already paid too high a price in this weak economy? If you’re not willing to sacrifice, what is your answer to reducing the debt?

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

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92 comments Add your comment

Soldiers sacrifice, rich people sip champagne

December 3rd, 2010
7:09 am

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m willing to “sacrifice” these debacles in an effort to reduce our deficit. Also, congress should make it more difficult for future presidents to start unprovoked wars (Iraq). That alone would save us trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives.

Do we really need to spend more on defense spending that almost all other nations combined? Shouldn’t other wealthy nations help pay for their own defense rather than rely upon us?

Tax rates for the rich are near historic lows. Also, from 2002-2007 the wealthiest Americans saw their incomes rise by an average of 10% per year! However, for the rest of us, one average our incomes barely budged. Not only should the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthy, but we should raise their income tax rate even further. Also, capital gains should be taxed as income.


December 3rd, 2010
7:33 am

Yes, the rich can pay more, but so can the rest of us. I’m willing to pay more in co-pays and deductibles for Medicare, pay income tax on SS benefits and adjust the annual SS COLA by minus 1%. Also eliminate the COLA all together for 5 of the next 10 years, but that might not be necessary since there hasn’t been one for the last two. The annual report on SS and Medicare is going to be a fright.

Just letting the Bush changes to the tax code expire, AS SCHEDULED, would do more to reduce the budget deficit than all the convoluted proposals of the debt commission.


December 3rd, 2010
7:41 am

15% of any and all Federal emloyees salaries, make all politician take a cut in retirement bennefits as well as insurance and healthcare packages they receive. Government is to fat, there primary job after gettin elected, its to get re elected, wtf!


December 3rd, 2010
7:57 am

I truly do not believe most middle class Americans can take anymore. We are loaning money to other countries and yet financial leaders say we are broke. They keep printing money we don’t have and instead of focusing on jobs and the economy we have the democrats passing bills on healthy eating, don’t ask don’t tell and other things that are not as important as people who live here getting jobs.
It is absolutely appauling that most of the big shots in the white house are bringing in $175,000 a year plus perks, when a soldier serving in the wars basic pay is $19,000. Then they come home to no job.
The spending is out of control and if it continues Americans will be rioting in the streets, just like Europe. I think if I hear global one more time this year I will puke.
I do not believe in raising the age of retirement, most people don’t and won’t hire people even in their 50’s. So to raise it to 68 or 70 is crazy. If the 68 or 70 year old gets hired, he or she is bagging groceries and making minumum wage and with no insurance unless they pay for it. No one can live on minumum wage with rent being $600-1000 a month plus utilities and gas to get to work. Am I better off than two years ago, heck no.


December 3rd, 2010
8:19 am

It will take a supernatural act of God to open the gates of heaven and pour down $ 100.00 bills
24 hours/day to erase the federal debt.

There is no middle class left, but only the rich and the poor. Poor people are struggling to keep
the water lines, gas and electricity supply opened. The number of people in the poverty line is
increasing every day. But the government spending at the top level is not reduced, indeed they
have the money to spend lavishly.

We are now faced with a no-win situation. Money is going out through every outlet, but the
incoming outlet is closed. Now, we know the end result.


December 3rd, 2010
8:43 am

I’m willing to give up all the red tape, fees and extraordinary taxes that governments (feds, state & local) place on business.

I’m willing to give up corporate taxes for more employed workers here in the U.S.

I’m willing to give up imports from China, India, Vietnam, Malaysia, etc for more stuff from Ga, Al, MS, SC, NC, OH, PENN etc.

I’m willing to give up foreign aid for more domestic aid.

I’m willing to give up retirement to help grow the economy here in the U.S.

I’m willing to give up a large Federal government for stronger state governments.

I’m willing to give up the IRS for the smart tax/flat tax.

I’m willing to give up colleges and universities that teach anarchy against the U.S. for institutions that want to foster the American dream.


December 3rd, 2010
8:51 am

I’m willing to give up a legal system that is fraught with frivolous lawsuits for a more common sense approach to justice.

I’m willing to give up government bureaucracy for more personal freedoms

My wife.....

December 3rd, 2010
9:40 am

….. please

Palin fan

December 3rd, 2010
9:41 am

We could start off my impeaching Obama. That is a wasted salary and person that we would be better off if we cut.


December 3rd, 2010
10:41 am

Department of Education, NEA, privatize Social Security, privatize health care, privatize the post office, get rid or privatize Amtrak, etc. Frankly everything not authorized by the Constitution the federal government should get out of the business of running.

I’m willing to give Obama, Pelosi, Reid and Tim Geithner a pay cut for such a poor poor poor job!

Danny O

December 3rd, 2010
10:55 am

I am willing to give up most or all of the mortgage interest deduction, as long as the top earners go back to the tax rate they paid prior to W. I could also do without Cold War-era defense projects which haven’t played any role in Iraq or Afghanistan, like the F-22 Raptor.

Destin Dawg

December 3rd, 2010
10:55 am

Cut the Post Office in 1/2 budget as with most Fed. gov’t….. SIMPLE.. raise bulk rates… so we don’t get all the junk mail that goes straight in garbage.. home deliver Mon. Wed. Fri… hey we all Email.. pay bills on line etc.. right ?? 1/2 the little trucks 1/2 people… businesses that need daily..can get a P.O. box and pick up….

Destin Dawg

December 3rd, 2010
11:04 am

I’m willing to give up home loan interest deduction… then a flat fair tax exempting 1st $30,000.. so low income / part time don’t even need to file…. and a National Sales tax would get Cash black market businesses when they spend money.., drug dealers. hookers. and just plain cheaters.. SIMPLIFY… tort reform to lower medical costs… TERM limits.. to drain the SWAMPi n Washington…. Where is the CHANGE you voted for ?????

Bryan G.

December 3rd, 2010
11:25 am

I’m willing to give up:

1. High Federal Gov’t Salaries
2. Social Security
3. Tax breaks for the Unwed mothers of 3 or more kids
4. Both Wars
5. Department of Education
6. Obama Care.

Angry Man

December 3rd, 2010
11:30 am

I’m willing to sacrifice a few of our “leaders”. How about burning them at the stake?

Destin Dawg

December 3rd, 2010
11:34 am

How about the huge budget/thousands of workers of Dept. of Energy ?????? Carter’s admin. started in late 70’s to reduce dependence on foreign oil… how’s that working for ya ???? mass trans ???? you all are still stuck in traffic.. driving one person per car… HOV lane is wide open !!!

Destin Dawg

December 3rd, 2010
11:37 am

both wars.. and Dept. of Ed… for sure…. teachers and lots of gov’t workers are in UNIONS… What’s up with that ???? Hey they are working for their city county, or country..


December 3rd, 2010
11:38 am

If we are all “yellin” at the end of the day, it probably means the proposed solution is fair. Personally, I could live without the mortgage deduction, but my mortgage is small at this point. I’m 54, and at least 8 years away from any social security benefit, but if it was necessary to defer my benefit by at least two years, I could adjust for it. If a person was 60, I think they should be held “harmless” at this point. They would have insufficient time to prepare/adjust. I do believe that the proposed tax plan that the Democrats have passed in the US House is fair, and that might make more income, even social security, taxable.


December 3rd, 2010
11:39 am

Of the 12 posters so far, only 3 are willing to give up their own money, and 2 of those qualified their potential personal sacrifice. Therein lies the problem: very few are willing to feel any of the pain. Most just blather on with their respective political talking points.

I am willing to give up all my itemized deductions.


December 3rd, 2010
11:41 am

I’m willing to live without tax cuts for the rich. This is a joke. Anyone who is scared or worried about the deficit needs to get a life. If we could take care of it in the nineties we can take care of it again. Now let’s do something about jobs and healthcare, which are the real problem most Americans face.

Angry Man

December 3rd, 2010
11:42 am

Just cut ALL government spending.

Joe Blow

December 3rd, 2010
11:44 am

Hey guys, the question is what would YOU give up. Giving up wars, federal agencies and pay raises for other people don’t count.

Yeah, Right!

December 3rd, 2010
11:47 am

First of all, I would like to address the first poster,,, just shut up! We will always be at War with another country or helping to police our World to get rid of the evils that surround us. I understand that everbody wants peace, but that is not going to happen. The minute we give in, you can kiss our existence on this planet goodbye. We will be at War until the end of time, so get used to that FACT!

Next, I refuse to give up a darn penny until I see that our federal government gets it’s spending and it’s multitude entitlement programs in check! Anyone with half a brain knows you don’t trhow money at a problem. Just look at the majority of lottery winners, broke in no time at all. And many professional atheletes as well. You cannot continue to funnel money to people that refuse to spend it porperly. The federal government (and state governements as well) need to get their crap together. Have we all forgotten what happened November 2nd? Now We The People are asked to make even more sacrifices. HECK NO!!!!!!!

I have made my sacrifies. I have saved and done the right things so I won’t need medicare or social security, even though the governement continues to rob me every two weeks.

As far as I am concern, I own them nothing further!

George Bailey

December 3rd, 2010
11:49 am

I can live without the tax credit and the social security at retirement. So there ya go, don’t spend it all in one place.


December 3rd, 2010
11:57 am

Social Security money…not eligible for another 20+ years, but am not counting on it at all for my future. Those rich enough, who don’t need it now, ought to give it up as well…and put it towards paying off the debt…not going to someone else as an entitlement. Those baby machines with both hands out sky high towards the govt need to find some birth control…and soon.

Alternative Minimum

December 3rd, 2010
12:00 pm

Why should I sacrifice something that they are about to take away from me anyway. Many people like me also continue to dole out money via Medicare & SS that we never will use, someone else will benefit (again) from my money.

TnG and others that hate folks like me need to stop speaking for me as well. You will never have any idea how the “rich” continue to be drained dry as well try to do the reposnsible things that so many look upon us to do. Very few “rich” are in the Warren Buffett category.

Danny O

December 3rd, 2010
12:05 pm

People who are bringing the Postal Service into the discussion are off base. While USPS policy and rates are set by a federal board, it is a self-funded operation and does not use tax dollars.

I can definitely live without mail service on Saturday. (But I would want just a few post offices open on that day.) However, this doesn’t have any effect on the deficit.


December 3rd, 2010
12:09 pm

First the mortgage tax reduction must be kept for the economies sake. The housing market is already a disaster.

Cut Social Security
Cut Obama-Care
Cut millitary spending
Raise taxes on luxury items, tobacco, and alcohal
Legalize Pot and tax the hell out of it.
Monitor current spending projects better.
Stop giving so much aid to other countries while we are going broke.
Cut the US Post Office drastically.


December 3rd, 2010
12:20 pm

I’m willing to have an increase in the gas tax and a raise of the retirement age for Social Security (before 2050).
I like the item in the above post about the US Post Office.


December 3rd, 2010
12:26 pm

I am not going to give up anything more – willingly. I already make 50% less than what I did in 2008, me, my wife and children do not have health insurance. We are scrapping by and hoping nothing breaks down, we barely can afford to eat, hope it doesn’t get too cold this winter since heating costs will break us. What more do you want? Enough, the country needs to create jobs for Americans, close the borders, send back ALL the illegals and end the stupidity that got us here in the first place.


December 3rd, 2010
12:33 pm

I’m willing to give up my tax cut, because I hardly ever feel like I’m getting anything out of it because it’s so small.


December 3rd, 2010
12:34 pm

The question should not be what American citizens are willing to sacrifice to cut the debt. The question should be what should the government cut out of its spending to reduce the debt. I can think of many things that could be cut starting with the money for wars and military actions we are involved with around the world. They are nothing more than testing grounds for the weapons systems that are developed by defense contractors and paid for by the American taxpayer. We can be secure without getting involved in all of this nonsense. We don’t increase our security by throwing money at the military and defense contractors. Another area where cuts can be made is in foreign aid. To be blunt, screw the rest of the world. They need to learn to stand on their own two feet sometime. No time like the present. Another area high on the list should be entitlements like welfare and some portions of social security like disability. If you are truly disabled and can’t work, you will be taken care of — but you won’t get rich. If you are just too lazy to work or use the excuse that you have too many children (each one with a different father who is not around), tough. We’ll take care of the kids by putting them in foster homes and you will be sterilized so you can’t keep popping out babies every year and expect the rest of us to pay for them. The next area to be trimmed back will be the government itself. Cut back or eliminate programs like the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Education and others. The Department of Homeland Security sounds too much like the Ministry of the Fatherland or the Department of the Motherland anyway. Get rid of it and that abomination the TSA. End of rant.


December 3rd, 2010
12:42 pm

How about giving up the Republican Party? They are a relic, and were in control of the White House for 20 out the past 30 years (Reagan 8 years 1980-88, Bush Sr 1988-1992, and GW Bush 2000-2008) and did nothing. Nothing to stop goverment spending, illegal immigration, etc. They have outlived there usefulness in the political arena. Fact is folks, there was Republican presidency for 20 of the past 30 years. Nothing was done for 20 years while they were in the presidency to control spending, healthcare reform, big government, and illegal immigration. So you cannot blame the current state of affairs in this country or longstanding problems with the Federal goverment on the current administration. it will take years and years to undo 20 years of GOP failure, as supposed to 10 years under a Democratic presidency.


December 3rd, 2010
12:58 pm

@Brad – I paid over $100k in income taxes alone last year. That is $100k more than the govt cut from their own spending. I would assume you are more intelligent than your post….


December 3rd, 2010
12:58 pm

First, the debt is not something I supported in any possible way. I tell you what. I will give up all the money that was stolen from me that isn’t actually in any account for me that is called “Social Security.” I won’t lay any claim to it (not that I legally have any claim in the first place), but stop taking any more of my money. The same with Medicare. I won’t ever want any of that damn charity money. But that’s it.

Cut the government by 90% (might be close to constitutional then). Bring home the troops from every country they are stationed in and close ever foreign base. Cut off every penny of foreign aid.

There, problem solved and I haven’t had to sacrifice anything. I certainly haven’t had to sacrifice security since such measure will INCREASE our security by actually having our troops guarding america instead of Japan, Germany, England, and killing innocent peoples all around the world especially in Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Typical liberal question. What additional amount of money would you throw away so that government doesn’t have to make any hard decisions that might involve cutting off the parasitic class of citizens that feed off the hard work of the productive sector of society.


December 3rd, 2010
1:10 pm

How about dissolving the federal government and shipping all of the politicians to Afghanistan.


December 3rd, 2010
1:11 pm

THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT HAVE A REVENUE PROBLEM. IT HAS A SPENDING PROBLEM. There is no need for any one of us to sacrifice, they just nedd to stop spend on stupid things.


December 3rd, 2010
1:12 pm

need*, spending*


December 3rd, 2010
1:20 pm

Glad to see in the article that the Dr. is making a sacrifice by dropping medicare patients. Wow must be tough on Doc.

Phil S

December 3rd, 2010
1:26 pm

Since we are living so much longer than we used to, I would be willing to bump my Social Security up a couple of years (some of us are living more than one third of our adulthood in retirement). I’d be willing to raise the cap on what we pay into Social Security too.

Since we have gotten so far out of whack and are leaving our children and grandchildren enslaved to debt and higher taxes, I’d be willing to pay a temporary tax that would go directly to reducing the long term massive debt. We really are stealing from future generations to pay for our own government today.

We still have to find a way to bend the health care cost curve. That and the costs of Aging are where the real challenges are. Cutting foreign aide (1%) or earmarks (less than that) always gets applause but it won’t do much of anything to battle the tsunami headed our way.

Johnny Nam

December 3rd, 2010
1:28 pm

I’m not willing to sacrifice a damn thing!!!
Why should I have to, or be expected to, sacrifice anything for the way the economy is?? Let obama and his flunkies do the sacrificing, they are the responsible ones. He was told to quit spending we there was no way in hell we had that kind of money. But NNNOOOOOO, he is the annionted one, he will do what he wants, regardless of the facts.
This is a stupid question, we the people are not going to offer up any sacrifices to this current joke of a government. They caused it, they need to fix it….Thank You.


December 3rd, 2010
1:33 pm

Once you add up my total tax bill (ie: Federal, state, prop, fuel, sin, sales,cap gains, dividends, ad valorem, user fees etc,) it takes almost 50% of my income. How much more does the govt want me to sacrafice? How much is enough? What is my fair share?
I’ll throw you a bone. I am 49 years old. I have paid into the SS and Medicare fund for 32 years. I will gladly exempt myself from ever collecting a penny at 65 or 67 years of age if I can stop paying into the fund now. That”s a considerable piece of change.

If you my govt. wants me to sacrafice more hard earned dollars I better see them make the cuts that make a difference. You cant have a solution when 48% of the people dont pay Federal Income taxes. Cold hearted? Fine.


December 3rd, 2010
1:35 pm

You people that want to sacrifive your retirement age, give more to taxes, gas tax increase, vacations eta., etc….. make me sick!!! You are sheeple.
My God, you have sat on your comfy butts and sucked up all the crap until it’s gone and now you want to sacrifice more. Y’all need to move to a country that is already a socialist republic.
The rest of us will stay and fight these idiots for the restoration of our Constitution and the rights contained therein.


December 3rd, 2010
1:37 pm

So let me get this straight, politicians can take and spend MY money with impunity, but when they over-extend, I’m the one who’s supposed to sacrifice something? When was the last time Washington was asked to sacrifice something? Try this for a sacrifice: Cut Federal spending by 80%.


December 3rd, 2010
1:41 pm

I agree with Susan & Richard. I cannot give or sacrifice any more. My salary was cut and have been living on less than $14,000. Savings & 401k used for rent. Wondering how I can continue to pay rent, utilities, car/rent/medical insurance, medical co-pays, prescriptions, car repairs, and maybe groceries (if there is anything left) . If my company’s business is so bad they needed to cut my salary, then why hasn’t their lifestyle changed – they have new cars, nice clothes, jewlery, plus a 2nd lakefront home with all the water toys. Don’t say find another job as I have been trying for 2 yrs and at age 55, the pickings are slim – can’t even find part-time yet. Doubt I will even make it to retirement age – feel like giving up!


December 3rd, 2010
1:53 pm

I’d be willing to sacrifice some SS benefits or pay more for SS and Medicare. It’s not a sacrifice, but I’d be willing to give up my costly healthcare plan for a government one. I’d be willing to “sacrifice” some false security by reducing the size of the military.

Some of you really need to chill out (is it 4:20 yet?) and quit with the “talking points.” You’re saying the same thing as the politicians you despise! How is dissolving the federal government going to solve anything? Most of you need to quit wasting the AJC’s hard drive space with these half-baked ideas. You say stop spending, but what are you going to stop spending on? Highways, education, SS for disabled people, military spending, welfare for people with no job? At least be specific. We all know cuts need to be made, but at least give us something we can actually chew on.
And quit with the Reagan-era blaming the welfare mothers for ALL of our problems. If that was our only problem our deficit would be several hundred billion, not trillions.
Foreign aid is necessary, like pay for play for football players. How you gonna get someone on your side without money? Sex? Uh, nothing against Hilary, but I don’t think too many foreign dignitaries will be stepping in line for some of that.
Let the tax rates roll back for those who make above $250K. I’d even be willing to sacrifice my tax cut, but I’d prefer to wait about four years and gradually roll it in.
@Danny O, you’re right about the USPS. Maybe people ought to mail their bills using UPS/FED-EX and see if they like those prices better….
I think we ought to get rid of government housing and expand the Section 8 program. Gets rid of blighted eyesores and puts some of the money in the pocket of private homeowners who keep their property up better than the government.

Come on people, let’s be real and get specific. Don’t blame the politicians when you have no real solutions yourselves. Think! Think! It ain’t illegal yet!**

**George Clinton


December 3rd, 2010
1:54 pm

why should I have to sacrifice anything? I’ve worked my butt off all my life, paid exorbitant taxes that was spent recklessly by rich politicians who are controlled by lobbyists, with no real say in how my tax dollars should be spent. Give me a break. This government does not represent the United States of American anymore.


December 3rd, 2010
1:57 pm

Brad said “very few are willing to feel any of the pain”. Why should I be willing sacrifice so the government will have more money to give to some crack ho. The problem is, the producers in this country are always asked to sacrifice so the deadbeats won’t have to. That scenario is only sustainable for so long.

Destin Dawg

December 3rd, 2010
2:00 pm

The Hospitality industry… casual dining… and healthcare… you CAN get a job !!! maybe not what you want… My adult college educated children are WORKING ( over time )… daughter is a scrub nurse.. son in tending bar at Applebees… nothing special but earning a living.. counting tips and overtime… NOT collecting unemployment.. GET A JOB ( and pay taxes ) PEOPLE !!!!


December 3rd, 2010
2:06 pm

@Jim December 3rd, 2010 1:33 pm

If the people on the bottom 48% made more money, think how much more everything you buy would cost? I think they’d prefer to pay taxes if they made more money, but how can they when the jobs they have don’t even qualify at federal poverty levels?
Take the long view… we need the poor to stay rich. If everyone went out and got a college education who would flip the burgers and take our the garbage and mow your lawns? Who would work in the factories? And nothing would be worth nothing. A college degree would be like having a GED now… virtually worthless.
Be thankful you’re in the 52% that make enough money to pay taxes rather than dogging the other 48%. Remember, this is a democracy. If the balance tips a little more and the no tax people make up the majority of this country, what happens if they start voting (luckily then don’t) and decide that the ones paying taxes ought to pay even MORE taxes? You’d be in quite a pickle then.
And I don’t know too many people in poverty who work in the financial sectors, or at GM & Chrysler. And what about corporate welfare? Why should a party for “clients” be exempted from taxes? I know the reason, but I wonder if you do?