The One Percent Solution

What is the One Percent Solution?

No, it is not a Sherlock Holmes novel.

It is a solution to this country’s debt problem. A solution the media for some reason is not giving much publicity.

Why? The media would rather focus on Republicans refusing to raise tax rates. They continue to perpetuate the class warfare notion of the rich needing to pay more. Although if you lower the tax rates and eliminate loopholes as many Republicans want to do, you will increase tax revenues and the “rich” will pay more. Meanwhile the media is reluctant  to point out the Democrats unwillingness to cut spending and that is what the one percent solution is all about.

On May 11 Rep. Connie Mack introduced the “One Percent Reduction Act of 2011.” What this act seeks to do is cut one penny from every dollar of spending for the next six years. Then in the 7th year cap spending at 18% of GDP.

The Legislation seeks:

  1. Spending caps on total government spending (both discretionary and entitlement) equal to a one percent reduction in spending each year for six years.
  2. Congressional action to reform spending programs to meet the One Percent caps. In meeting the caps, Congress may cut some programs more than 1 percent and some less, as long as totalgovernment spending is reduced by 1 percent each year for six years;
  3. If Congress fails to enact the needed reforms, then mandatory, “across the board” spending cuts occur each year to bring spending reductions into line with the One Percent spending caps.
  4. Starting in the seventh year (2018) and thereafter, the bill caps overall spending at 18 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to ensure that it is line with expected future revenues. (Historically, federal revenues have averaged 18 percent of GDP.)

Seems straight forward does it not? 

How does it compare with other plans? 

I hear you asking it. I do. Really.

Take a look at the chart:

With a $14 trillion debt and credit agencies threatening to downgrade the county’s credit rating, our government is still unwilling to cut a single penny from every dollar spent. Go to  , look for yourself. I hope you join the cause. If not for yourself, then for this country’s next generation.

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18 Responses to The One Percent Solution

  1. Nice Article. I think it is a pretty good plan, but I think they may need stipulations to allow for emergencies and such (especially for war/defense). Of course, I wouldn’t put it past many politicians to call just about anything an “emergency” that warrants more spending, these days. I just don’t like the idea of defunding troops when they are in the middle of a war. Otherwise, cutting 1% in all areas sounds quite simple and likely not all that hard to do. Of course, Obamacare (if not repealed) and many other programs may end up costing more than expected or budgeted for.

    • RJ says:

      We, 4% of the world’s population, currently spend 40 times more per person for our military than any other country on earth and we actually spend more total than the rest of the world combined. It seems rather naive to think that it couldn’t take a 1% hit. In fact it could probably take a 40% and still not affect soldier safety. Yes, I am also for protecting the kids that we put in harms way but we don’t need to be the policemen of the world. If we just got in aligned with others we could solve our deficit problem almost immediately.

  2. RJ says:

    This along with putting the upper tax rate back to where it was before Bush and putting the inheritance tax back to where it has been the last 100 years or so just might do the job. But I also have a plan that would go even farther to putting us back in the black. See it at and . I know it doesn’t align with your thinking but ….

  3. RJ says:

    Bret, I figured a guy like you would like my flat tax plan. It allows millionaires to pay the same rate as the middle class working stiff. Treating inheritance tax as income not so much for you I am sure. What would this country be if we couldn’t pass our wealth to our kids tax free. But to me income is income no matter where it comes from and therefore should be subject to “income” taxes.

  4. RJ says:

    Bret, I don’t know why I am focused on your post but I wanted to make one other comment before I leave. The bill you support says that we should spend only 18% of GDP to do the people’s business assigned to your elected representatives. There are only a handful of countries (less than 2%) who currently spend that amount or less and they are all third world countries with virtually no infrastructure. In reality the average for the world is presently 32.5%. Do you really want to turn the U.S. into a country with no infrastructure support and NO military? If you include all the industries special tax breaks in with the actually DOD budget it consumes almost half of your proposed maximum. How is that sustainable or are you proposing drastic spending cuts for the military as well?

    I don’t know where you got your statistics but according to the official figures at
    we have not been below 20% in over 80 years of below 30% in 30 years.

    • Greg Burr says:


      It is nice to have rational discourse on this subject even when we are on opposing sides. I want to point out that you misinterpreted the numbers from The numbers you gave are total government spending including Federal, State, and local municipality. This is shown through bubbles on the right side that are set to total by default. If you switch the bubble from total to Fed you will see that the only time in our history that federal spending was above 30% was during WWII. Also except for stretches during WWI, WWII, and during the Reagan administration and into the early part of the Clinton administration federal spending was always below 20%. Spending jumped above 20% again over the last couple of years.

      I hope you respond and we can start a pragmatic dialogue about the current state of Federal revenues and spending.

    • Bret Rickert says:

      If you reset the graph you will see your numbers are off. Mr. Burr is correct. Please, keep the conversation going.

  5. Zifnab says:

    Every member of Congress can probably rattle off a dozen government programs to cut. I bet you could even get 218 in the House and 60 in the Senate to rattle off 1% of the US budget they’d like to cut. That’s not a problem.

    The problem is getting 218 House members and 60 Senators to agree on WHICH part of the budget needs cutting.
    Do we cut oil subsidies? Republicans say no and Democrats say yes. So we deadlock.
    Do we cut Medicare? Republicans say yes and Democrats say no. So we deadlock.
    Do we cut the military? See 1).
    Do we cut Social Security benefits? See 2)
    Agricultural subsidies? 1)
    Education funding? 2)

    The Democrats cut several hundred billion dollars with the Affordable Care Act by ending Medicare Plan C reimbursements to private health care providers. The Republicans have been working to repeal the change ever since. Republicans wanted to end federal funding of unemployment benefits back in ’10, but traded extension of the Bush Tax Cuts to preserve them.

    Your 1% plan can’t work because Congress can’t agree on which 1%. It’s an ideal solution for an idealized world. Sadly, we live in the real one.

  6. Greg Burr says:

    I’d like to see a Democrat propose a budget. So far the only Democrat budget we have is Obama’s and the CBO says that his budget takes the debt as percentage of GDP to 344% by 2050. That isn’t so much a budget as a plan to put it all on the credit card and pray. Debt at 344% of GDP is called bankruptcy. That 344% also doesn’t take into account the unfunded liabilities that Social Security and Medicare represent. The Republicans need to realize that defense must take big cuts. They also need to stand up for the market instead of big business and end corporate welfare. Being for free markets and being for fraudulent big business are very different things and it is about time the Republicans start acting like it. Both parties need to agree to end all subsidies . The Republicans need to also realize that the social programs and safety nets are the last thing that should get cut and it needs to be done in a manner that minimizes the affect on those individuals that rely on those programs and have paid into those programs. You should not be cutting social programs until you cut all foreign aid, corporate welfare, defense, and anything else you can find to cut. At the same time the Democrats have to stop talking about ending the wars and actually do it. The congress also need to wrestle for control of Obama’s Libya debacle and then end that too. The Democrats need to realize that the amount needed can’t be saved through eliminating waste alone. Joe Biden’s commission is currently proposing cutting 150 Billion over the next 10 years. The Democrats need to realize that the Biden commission isn’t living in the real world where 150 billion in spending is nothing compared to the overall size of the budget, budget deficit, and public debt. The Democrats also need to realize that there must be changes to S.S. and Medicare. Both systems have developed into Ponzi schemes where the young paying into the system support those collecting from the system. This poses a huge problem because the demographics of the country are changing quickly as the baby boomers retire. There will soon be only 2 workers for every retiree collecting S.S. and Medicare. The FICA tax from the working individuals cannot pay for all of the benefits that S.S. is scheduled to pay out. Both parties need to realize that our current income tax system is grossly inefficient and we would be better served by a more simple system.

    • Bret Rickert says:

      WOW! Thank you for an excellent comment. There is a lot there to digest and I agree with about 95% of what you said. I disagree about eliminating all foreign aid. Your comment really does point towards the ideal in solving the country’s problem and as I said before striving for the ideal is what will lead to the workable solution. Thanks again for your comment.

    • RJ says:

      Brett, Thanks for showing me that for this discussion we are only talking about the Federal budget. I will not assume that since State and local spending have been taken off the table for these particular discussions that you think they are fine. Since the State and local increases pretty much mirror the federal one I would say the same mentality prevails at these government levels as well.

      It is not often that I hear a conservative say we must cut everything else as much as possible before we attack the citizen safety net. Your statement about that is encouraging. It seems all I hear about are proposals to take away benefits from Medicare recipients, Medicaid and such. Taking away benefits in no way solves our run away medical care spending. I know that my State’s governor just announced a 30% cut in money that allows seniors to stay in their homes as opposed to having to go to a nursing home. How can that be a wise choice in the end? The talk on this post about removing the unemployment benefits is also in that category to me. What does the person do who is out of a job and no money coming in. How does he feed his family? Does he have to go down to below $1500 in total assets to get on Medicaid?

      The biggest stickler for me from the Republican side is their unwillingness to do any significant cuts to our extremely bloated defense budgets. Until we get those in line with the rest of the world I will not be ready to attack any safety net issues.

      I’m not at all sure that we can ever “fix” our current tax system. It is so bloated with special clauses and exemptions that tinkering with it just doesn’t make much sense. It needs to be overhauled in its entirety. See my references to that in these posts comments.

      Thanks for the dialog. If only those on opposing sides in Washington would stop and listen to each other instead of just screaming across the divide maybe we could accomplish something in this area. Attempting to shove all the blame for all of this stuff on one particular party is insanity. We must recognize the much of the current bubble started with the last Bush administration but is continuing with the first of the Obama term. So there is plenty of blame to go around. We need to stop the shouting and start a real dialog.

      • Bret Rickert says:

        Actually,RJ, many conservatives want a lean efficient military. Look at the recent cuts in F-22 raptor fighter. Greta plane! So great we really do not need that many.

        Dialog is important. I only wish the President had chosen dialogue over demagoguery when he addressed Paul Ryan’s plan on April 14th, he missed an opportunity to be a leader.

  7. RJ says:

    Actually, Bret, I never doubted that for a second. Our differences are in the numbers. Conservatives think a 5% or so cut will make them efficient. Progressives like myself want to do a 50% cut and then go from there. Even at 50% we are spending twenty time more per capita than any other country in the world.

  8. Stephen says:

    Lots to agree with; but, for the sake of sane discourse, could you provide a ‘source’ to “the chart” comparing different proposals?
    Also (and again, suggesting this largely in agreement) there is a form of oversimplification in the simple proposals of a 1% cut: the “entitlement” (Yikes!) programs that are the primary culprit in this issue are expanding due to over-promising from their inception that ignores/ignored demographic changes (ponzi schemes worst enemy). Not disagreeing with the concept, the need will be to hack, brutally, the promises of yore built into these schemes; that is different from the little shave suggested in the 1% rhetoric.

    • Bret Rickert says:

      The chart is provided at Given the discourse at the time( even more so now) I was presenting a possibly sane method to controlling our country’s budget problems. I fear however sanity has left us a long time ago. Thanks for the input, I thought the source was there in small print on the chart and I see they moved the chart on their web-site. Amazing what gets over-looked, even more amazing is you are the first to ask for the source. Thanks again.

  9. Pingback: ‘Unconscionable’ Worm Harry Reid Demonizes Republicans For 60 Vote Requirement: READ REID’S OWN PREVIOUS WORDS « Start Thinking Right

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