Here is my plan, which gives us a $97 billion budget surplus by 2015, and a $770 billion surplus by 2030. What’s your plan?
Incidentally, I completely approve of these kinds of exercises. The more people engage in them, the more data points we have in favor of the proposition that Americans don’t want to end up like Greece. And that is a good thing. Note how much we can save if we engage in health care and entitlement reform alone, not to mention taking a serious axe to domestic spending like subsidies. I barely had to touch defense, and am willing to delay a reduction of troop levels in Afghanistan based on the conditions on the ground; I have that luxury given the amount of money gained through my other budget and tax choices. I think that a VAT would raise more money than the New York Times estimates that it would, particularly if it is part of an overall tax reform package that really jump starts the economy by slashing the top personal income tax rate, and eliminates, or seriously diminishes corporate income taxes. Additionally, as discussed before, I am willing to advocate a certain type of carbon tax.
UPDATE: As pointed out to me on Facebook, the description of the VAT provided by the New York Times is wrong. A national sales tax would be added at the final point of purchase, while a VAT is “a tax on the estimated market value added to a product or material at each stage of its manufacture or distribution, ultimately passed on to the consumer,” per Wikipedia. This reinforces my belief that a VAT would raise more money than the Times estimates that it would raise.