Thought I'd copy this over from another topic and make it a topic by itself. After all the hot air rises into space, there is no substance left to the candidates' aspirations. No one really knows what they plan to do. So here is something for you to really sink your teeth into and tell me how unbelievably ridiculous these ideas are. You need some real balls to kick? Here you go. 1. Raise the retirement age. When Social Security was enacted, the average life expectancy was 60 and only 6 percent of Americans were over the age of 65. Today, average life expectancy is 78 and 13 percent of Americans are over the age of 65. We have literally doubled our "entitlement" load. We are living longer, we should be working longer. Social Security was insurance. Not everyone was expected to collect. Now it is an entitlement. We need to index the retirement age to either life expectancy or back to 6 percent of the population. When we average life expectancy to 100 years, are we going to live one third of our lives on Social Security? I don't think so! We clearly need to raise the eligibility age. Raise the eligibility age to 70. That's not even life expectancy, but you would be paying into Social Security and Medicare five more years and drawing out five less years. That's an astronomical savings of federal outlays right there. 2. Reform financial services regulations. We can start by repealing the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank), the Commmodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CFMA), and the Financal Services Modernization Act of 1999 (FSMA). The CFMA and FSMA completely deregulated the financial services sector and brought us the worldwide derivatives bubble and crash, which we are still going through. See Greece, Spain, Italy, Irleand, Eurozone, QE I, II, III, Infinity, etc. Dodd-Frank is a weak and ineffective attempt to gum the financial institutions into sane and non-fraudulent behavior when what we need is some legislation with teeth. There is good regulation, and there is bad regulation. When we are talking about something as important and with such a high potential for corruption as money, our economy cannot afford NO regulation. We have a lot of bad regulation that needs to go. The CFMA and the FSMA are two examples. So what kind of good regulation do we need? An outright ban on credit default swaps, for starters. Credit default swaps allow you to bet your neighbors mortage will burn down. Not only that, you can build your neighbors mortgage and then bet it will burn down. How'd that turn out for ya? There's a reason insurance has an insurable interest requirement. CDS must go. Those who have legitimate insurable interest requirements on their over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives should be allowed to buy insurance, but no one else. Next regulation: all OTC derivatives are to be sold on exchanges. Dodd-Frank attempts to do this, but the visitor's log at the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau shows that the big Wall Street firms are doing their level best to undermine the "end user" definition so the entire insurance protection framework of the securities exchanges will be rendered moot. They are building the loopholes they will drive their trucks full of money through. Next, limit the size of the GSEs portfolios so they are not systemic risks. The GSEs have served a very important function in our economy. We don't need to eliminate them, we need to reform them. Next, consolidate all federal financial regulatory authority under one roof so there can be no regulator shopping. Next, return to the states their authority to prosecute financial fraud that was taken away by the CFMA and the OCC. This is an absolutely critical states right which needs to be restored. 3. Send fraudsters to prison. Enough with this "paid out some lunch money with no admission of wrongdoing" bullshit. The financial services industry has become an oligarchy with 40 percent of all the corporate profits in our entire economy going to that one sector. This is a MASSIVE redistribution of wealth going on, from the pockets of the common man into the bank accounts of a tiny number of your fellow Americans. The money you pay for your health, auto and life insurance; your college tuition; your 401k; and even your taxes are going to Wall Street brokers' pockets. I kid you not. How? By way of the sale of financial derviative products to the customer (your insurance company, public employee pension plan, city treasurer, etc.) who has no way of understanding them. For each product sold, there are several financial institutions which make fees off them. Because of this, they are heavily incentivized to makes these sales and to never let the gravy train stop. So when they ran out of credit-worthy customers, they threw the underwriting laws of the universe out the window and began inventing more and more toxic derivatives and selling them to more and more risky customers in order to keep those fees flowing into their pockets. How'd that work out for you? Has your insurance gone up? College tuition gone up? Taxes gone up? It is time to stop defending the crooks and time to start sending them to prison. 4. Allow big businesses to fail. It is not capitalism if you aren't allowed to fail. Period. The government propping up of failed businesses is REAL socialism, and it leads to more and more inefficiencies, corruption, and has created bigger and bigger and bigger successive failures. One day will be talking about Too Big To Save corporations, at which point we will be well and truly screwed like you can't even imagine. 5. Reform the tax code. Every tax deduction, loophole, subsidy, credit, collectively known as "tax expenditures", is regressive. Every expenditure has to be made up for by someone else. For example, the mortgage interest deduction. You only get it if you are monied enough to be able to buy a house. This one deduction reduces federal revenue by $100 billion each year. That $100 billion is then going to have to come from someone else's hide. If you think of tax expenditures this way, then it becomes crystal clear that removing all expenditures makes the playing field completely flat. Some people get all bunched up over "fairness". Taking away all tax expenditures is as fair as it gets. Then we can lower tax rates, and everyone in each bracket pays the exact same amount of tax. And think about this added benefit: It's a lot harder to corrupt a Congressman if he isn't allowed to mess with the tax code by adding special tax expenditures for his friends. So that's it. I actually have other ideas which would greatly benefit our economy, but I promised only five. You won't find many politicians these days who actually propose specific ideas. Instead, they say what they WON'T do. "I can tell you this, I won't turn our economy into a socialist paradise!" Okay, but what WILL you do? They don't tell you because they know they will be attacked. Our politicians today are a collection of chickenhearted cowards. There's my 5 point plan. Here's my balls. Go ahead and kick 'em! .