1.  What to do about the United States' quarter-trillion dollar trade deficit.
In 1999, the U.S. purchased $255 billion more goods and services from foreign nations than those nations purchased from the United States . In June 2000, our trading deficient was $30.6 billion.

In 1998, Congress established the Trade Deficit Review Commission to study the nature, causes and consequences of our trade deficits.  While the Commission's November 2000 final report contained two widely differing conclusions (a Republican view and a Democratic view), there was general agreement that a large and growing deficit cannot continue indefinitely without negative consequences.

2.  How to ensure that the Social Security and Medi-Care benefit programs remain solvent as the baby boom generation approaches retirement age.
According to the latest report from the Social Security's Board of Trustees:

  •  by 2015 the amount of money put into the Social Security System from payroll taxes will be less than the monies paid out in benefits, and 
  • by 2037 the Social Security System will be able to pay less than three quarters of the promised benefits, thus pushing  millions of low-income retired Americans into poverty.  

The report concludes that unless Social Security is reformed, either payroll tax rates will have to increase by up to fifty percent or the system's already meager promised benefits will have to be cut by almost a third.

 3.  How to provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans.
While America probably has the best medical care in the world, most its citizens don't have access to it for a variety of reasons.  

4.  How to simplify and make more equitable the taxes needed to run state and federal government.

While it is clear that the federal government and state governments need money to operate, it is equally clear that:

In fiscal year 2000, Americans paid over $2.4 trillion in taxes!  This marked the highest peacetime tax burden in history and represented 21% of America's gross domestic product.  

It seems ironic that high taxes triggered our breaking away from England to form the United States and yet we pay enormous taxes today that are seemingly accepted by most of us.  

Many of us think that the federal and state income tax brackets we are in represents the percentage of taxes we pay but that's not the half of it!  A single person living in California who owns a home and makes $60,000 would pay taxes in the neighbor of 40% or $24,000 of their income!  These taxes would include the following.  


Type of Tax (1)

Appr. Amount
U.S. income tax 20% of income
State income tax 9% of income
Property tax $3,000/year
Gasoline tax (2) 34%/gallon
Sales tax 7.95% of many purchases
State & federal telephone taxes   % of bill
State & federal gas taxes 1% of bill

1) These don't include estate taxes, or death taxes as they are sometimes called, which seem particularly burdensome in that they tax money that has already been taxed.

2) The California Energy Commission reports that in December 1999 the cost of a $1.36 gallon of gas in California had the following components: crude oil, 59 cents; refinery margin, 21 cents; dealer margin, 10 cents; and taxes, 46 cents.

3) Here is a list of other taxes we pay from an email I received.

And to make matters worse, figuring out how much income tax or estate tax one owes is time consuming and expensive.  The tax code is convoluted to the point where multiple tax experts come up with  different amounts owed for the same individual or corporation. 

And taxes just don't collect money, they provide incentives and disincentives for following certain government social policies such as:

In a very real sense, a high tax burden reduces one's freedoms.  The freedom to make one's way in this world - the freedom to enjoy the fruits of one's labor.