Quiz: Which Budget Is Right for You?

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Whose budget should you support based on naked self-interest: Paul Ryan's? The president's? A political group you've never heard of? The Atlantic Wire has created this handy quiz to help you decide whose budget is best for your actual life.

We took a look at the various plans under consideration, presented below from most to least conservative:

After a through-ish review, we parsed out how each plan might affect Mr. or Ms. Regular American. But let's have an example. We put all 330 million Americans' names in a hat and pulled one out at random: Willard Romney of Massachusetts. Here's how the president's budget plan, out Wednesday to some wrangling about chained CPIs, would affect him.

Obama proposal: The Buffet Rule. The name refers to the idea that billionaire investor Warren Buffett shouldn't pay a lower tax rate than his secretary. It would ensure people who make $1 million a year pay a tax rate of at least 30 percent.

Would this affect Willard Romney? Yes. Romney paid a 14 percent rate on income of $13.7 million in 2011. He could have paid even less, but he did not take all of his charitable deductions.

Obama proposal: Closing the carried interest loophole. This loophole allows financial managers to claim a large chunk of their income is not income but capital gains, so that it's not taxed at the top income tax rate of 39.6 percent, but the lower capital gains tax rate of 15 percent rate.

Would this affect Willard Romney? Yes. Romney paid a 14 percent tax rate in part because about half of his income came from capital gains.

Obama proposalClosing a loophole that "lets wealthy individuals circumvent contribution limits and a cumulate millions in tax-preferred retirement accounts," a White House press release explains. IRAs would be capped at $3 million.

Would this affect Willard Romney? Yes. In the 15 years Romney worked at Bain Capital, he grew his IRA to between $21 million and $102 million. You're allowed to contribute $6,000 a year to your IRA. Talking Points Memo's Brian Beutler reports this is a new provision in Obama's budget, and it's "intended to close the loophole that allowed Romney to amass" such a huge IRA. 

Obama proposal: Higher cigarette taxes.

Would this affect Willard Romney? No. Mitt Romney doesn't smoke.

Obama proposal: Changing the way the cost of living increases for Social Security benefits are calculated. Obama's plan calls for chained CPI, meaning smaller increases. By some estimates, this change would cost the average worker who retires at 65, by 75 it would cost him $650 a year, and by 85 it would cost him $1,130.

Would this affect Willard Romney? Yes. This would affect everyone who's paid into Social Security. 

So if this anonymous Willard Romney were to support a budget, which might be right for him? He might consider Paul Ryan's.

What about you? Which budget meets your highly specific needs? Take the quiz below and find out which of the various budget plans you should be rooting for.

Take the quiz at TheAtlanicWire.com. 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.