On Wed, 14 Nov 2007 08:00:42 -0700, Doug Winterburn
I don't have a lot of time at the moment to respond but this little
point jumped way out off the monitor screen.
3/4 of the budget is on social programs? Where did you get that
little "fact"? A very quick search yielded, consistently, over
several sites, that about ~40% of the budget is on "social" programs.
Depending on where you look, defense is ~25% and debt service is about
75(social)+25(defense)+10(debt) = more than 100%.
Gee, leaves not a whole lot for federal agencies and such, huh? Or,
is ALL of government one big "social" program in your eyes?
Then there's this chart that presents a somewhat different
perspective, taking into account past military expenses rather than
hiding them. Admittedly, from the name, a seemingly biased site, but
the numbers seem right (e.g. $700B for military expenditures,
including Irq and Afg. is the figure noted on many other publications)
-snip of stuff for which I have no time to rebut at the moment
Perhaps you oughta go and have a sit down discussion with the current
occupant at that little place on PA Ave. re: the Constitution.
Tis a shame you seem to favor enriching defense contractors to produce
geewizbang gadgets that have no relevance in today's (or even
tomorrow's) conflicts, but can't seem to help much in overcoming rag
tag bands of third world country resistance. You know, the wars we're
fighting RIGHT NOW?
$700 &$*^%$ BILLION dollars a year) (or $1.3 TRILLION spent so far on
Irq & Afg.) and FIVE years later: we are still fighting, the regional
situations are worsening, OBL is still uncaptured. Good heavens! If
we'd fought WWII with the same verve, we'd still be at it.
Glad you think $1.3 Trillion is small potatoes. And, of course, it's
planned to be a fifty year (min) conflict.
I don't have time to look at all, but it would depend greatly on how the
breakdowns are calculated imo. Under some definitions that aren't too
greatly stretched, I could see it, particularly if future obligations of
the growth of entitlements implies is included.
As one simple example that I do happen to know something about -- where
is the Dept of Ag budget counted? While folks like to complain about
direct subsidies (and there are some areas that need reform, certainly),
over 60% is for things like food stamps, school food programs, etc., and
only 14% is actually direct ag-producer programs such as drought
Are those social services programs accounted for in your 40% numbers as
simply one question. The budget is so large and convoluted, it's like
the IRS code -- essentially unfathomable.
Social Security %21
Unemployment & Welfare %13
Medicaid et all %10
Debt interest %9
* includes general government, science & technology, community &
regional development, agriculture, foreign affairs, environment &
natural resources, Justice, Veterans Benefits, Transportation, etc.
The first 4 or possibly 5 qualify as social programs and add up to about
%60 of the budget. So I was wrong as were you. As well, since 4/9 of
the debt (or 4% of the budget) is because of the trust funds (my
original point), over 60% of the budget is composed of social program
spending and interest on those programs debt.
I also hope that one of those "gee whiz" missile defense systems isn't
required to save your home town or any other city in the world, but if
it is, I'll be glad we have it.
Likely got it in the social services budget as well. Pork abounds--if
you can find a system to do away with it other than appointing a king
please present it--it's inherent in any democratic system that people
are going to want projects that benefit them.
It's even more inherent in a monarchy or dictatorial system where the
"ins" have absolute control. There is at least a modicum of control in
a democratic/representative government, albeit diluted as the size of
the population grows...
...and no where else in that +60% ? Our kids and grandkids aren't going
to distinguish between what you and I may argue is good or bad debt when
the tab comes due and their paychecks vanish. My whole point about the
trust fund situation is that it will be by far the largest component of
the debt when that time comes. The solution to that problem isn't
increasing SS tax rates and caps as that will only increase the debt
further and faster as long as the trust fund money is "invested" in
Per example...the recent WRDA (Water Resources) bill. Went from ~$5B
request from Army Corps of Engineers for improvements on inland
waterways to do things such as enlarge outdated locks to accommodate
current-day barges, maintenance, etc.; a useful and needed set of work
that has been need for 20 years. Went to $10, then $12B in House, about
$15B in Senate (or vice versa, I forget which was the larger otomh, but
that's immaterial). Went to conference and came out at something around
$22B. Ended up being first (and so far, only) bill the Dem's have been
able to override a veto...
I'm an ag producer so cost-effective barge facilities to ship grain from
our midwest terminals to Gulf ports is a key item in our economic
competitiveness for exports, but still...this is madness.
Not only is the medical arm understaffed, if it wasn't for the reservists we
would have mostly foreign nationals as doctors..
They do as well as they can and are eligible for citizenship after their term of
service, but it's a different medical core than we had when there was a draft..
Might save the cost of unemployment, welfare, education grants, etc...
All of the programs, such as the Peace Corp, Red Cross, etc. are in place right
The same place grants and student loans come from.. no change..
You're going to have about 10 million people in your service program,
all of whom are going to have to be paid, fed, housed, etc while
they're doing whatever. This is about 7 times the size of the US
active duty military, so one can expect the pay alone to be about 7
times as great.
About 1 million teenagers are unemployed and seeking employment--most
of them are not seeking or collecting unemployment benefits, your
program would increase costs by paying them government money that they
are not now receiving. I'm not really clear on how it would cause the
other 6 million to either become employed, stop seeking employment, or
stop collecting whatever benefits they were collecting.
Further, few teenagers are collecting any significant amount of
Welfare other than the ones who have children--what are you going to
do with their kids while they are off serving?
Except that you're at least doubling the number of recipients each
year and removing the requirement that the funds be repaid.
But basically it sounds like you're just proposing another "tax and
spend" or "borrow and spend" boondoggle based on no evidence that it's
actually going to cut costs in the long term.
Who pays them now?
Is the peace Corp paying their folks.. or the Red Cross Volunteers?
What's the going rate for the folks that "adopt a freeway"?
We're talking community service, not VIP jobs..
Please remove splinters before emailing
Or, more to the point.
"it's Tommy this and Tommy that, and 'chuck 'im out, the brute.'
But it's 'Savior of his Country,' When the guns begin to shoot."
That old imperialist/racist Kipling.
As a Parent of one of those volenreers, I'd like to add that though I don't
agree with this war and would like us out of there, I support the troops who are
in harms way and do their job..
I've talked with several kids (that's who we send, right) that signed up for
another tour as soon as they got back.. most of them with the reasoning that
they can help the newly deployed or that they wanted to be back with their
Way different than my era of draftees..
Please remove splinters before emailing
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