What people are saying about the quiz
Discuss Individual Questions
Recognizing the Scope of the Problem
- 1. FISCAL WISDOM: The federal government’s projected deficits and mounting debt burdens will eventually threaten America’s future position in the world and our standard of living at home if they are not addressed.
- 2. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: The size of the federal government is best measured by the amount of total federal taxes.
- 3. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: Improved economic growth alone can realistically solve our nation’s long-term fiscal challenges.
- 4. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: The federal government has grown from about 2% of the economy in the year 1800, to about 24% in 2011, and is projected to approach 40% by 2040.
- 5. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: Allowing significant additional inflation is an appropriate and effective means to reduce our nation’s long-term debt burdens.
- 6. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: The total government debt in the United States (federal, state, and local governments combined) measured as a percentage of the economy, is higher than many of the European nations currently facing serious debt challenges.
- 7. FISCAL WISDOM: Effectively addressing our structural federal deficits will require both reductions in future projected spending AND increased revenues (compared to the historical average) as a percent of the economy.
Government Spending & Social Insurance Programs
- 8. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: About 40% of the federal budget is spent on mandatory spending programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, which are essentially on “auto-pilot” and not subject to the yearly budget decision making of Congress.
- 9. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: Most individuals pay more in payroll taxes and Medicare premiums over their lifetime than they end up receiving in Social Security and Medicare benefits.
- 10. FISCAL WISDOM: We can and should solve our nation’s longer-term fiscal challenges solely with spending reductions.
- 11. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: Social Security is adding to current federal deficits.
- 12. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: Absent reform, Social Security’s Disability Insurance Trust Fund will run out of money within the next seven years.
- 13. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: Social Security’s early and normal retirement eligibility ages appropriately take into account past and future (projected) changes in life expectancy.
- 14. FISCAL WISDOM: The federal government’s health care programs are financially sustainable in their present form.
- 15. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: As is the case with every other major industrialized country, the U.S. has a limit on how much of the federal budget is allocated to health care programs.
- 16. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: For healthcare programs, the federal government pays medical providers more on the basis of patient health outcomes than on the amount of medical services they perform.
- 17. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: An overwhelming majority of beneficiaries in Medicare’s voluntary programs (Parts B & D) only pay for 25% of the cost of their benefits through their monthly premiums.
- 18. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: The U.S. has above average levels of taxation as compared to other major industrialized countries.
- 19. FISCAL WISDOM: We can and should solve our nation’s longer-term fiscal challenges solely with tax increases.
- 20. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: About half of federal tax filers do not pay any federal income tax.
- 21. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: On average, the top one percent of federal taxpayers by income pay an effective income tax rate of less than 20 percent.
- 22. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: Tax expenditures in the Internal Revenue Code (e.g. deductions, exemptions, credits and exclusions) result in over $1 trillion in lost federal revenue each year.
- 23. FISCAL WISDOM: Comprehensive tax reform that reduces tax expenditures (e.g. deductions, exemptions, credits and exclusions), while at the same time reducing top marginal tax rates, can generate additional revenues above historical levels and should be a key component of any comprehensive deficit reduction strategy.
Defense & General Government Reform
- 24. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: The U.S. spends as much on defense as the next highest 15 nations combined (China, United Kingdom, France, Russia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Germany, India, Italy, Brazil, South Korea, Australia, Canada, Turkey, Israel).
- 25. FISCAL WISDOM: We can significantly reduce future defense spending without unduly compromising national security.
- 26. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: The federal government is required to conduct a periodic baseline review of all major agencies, spending programs and tax preferences to ensure their appropriateness, effectiveness, affordability and sustainability in the 21st century.
- 27. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: Congress has never had rules in place that limited the amounts that could be spent or that prevented them from making further unfunded promises.
- 28. FISCAL WISDOM: Elected officials should rescind and reject any pledges to special interest groups that would restrict them from considering comprehensive reform proposals, including pledges that prevent them from reforming social insurance programs (i.e. Medicare, Social Security) or from supporting higher federal revenues.
- 29. FISCAL WISDOM: Elected officials should be willing to make tough choices on social insurance programs, spending and taxes even if it may serve to decrease their chances of being re-elected.
- 30. FISCAL WISDOM: Elected officials should be willing to reach across the political aisle and work for a principled based compromise where all major elements of the federal budget are on the table, even if it’s contrary to wishes of their party leadership, in order to enhance fiscal responsibility and ensure sustainability over time.
The Comeback America Initiative has received a great amount of feedback from the thousands of people that have taken the Fiscal IQ Quiz:
Praise for the Fiscal IQ Quiz
I wish everyone took this test. They would be very surprised at what they don’t know.”
Frequently Asked Questions about the Fiscal IQ Quiz
Is the Fiscal IQ Quiz based on fact or opinion?
Several people who completed the quiz noted that some of the questions seemed to be based on opinion rather than fact. As noted in the preamble to the quiz, there are two types of questions – ones based solely on facts, and others which ask for a response to a statement that is grounded in facts, but based on a consensus view of a number of objective budget experts… Read More