Sunday, July 31, 2011

Budget

I am beginning to think that I might just be an anarchist. It isn't just my general disdain for authority, it is my general annoyance at stupidity. Never have I met a company as poorly run as the American government. It would have been out of business years ago if it didn't have private funding. Oh yes, ever dollar spent must first be taken from the hand of someone who earned it with there hard work.

Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of paying taxes. I love our country. I am happy to pay for my freedom, protection from those who wish to take my freedoms. I love that our country happily educates all who are willing, I am glad to drive on roads that are cared for, I love our national park, library's, monuments and other things my tax dollars fund. I also have nothing against helping out those who find themselves in a tight spot. The government does a lot of good things.

Here is the kicker: we can't pay for it.

When Matt was finishing up school and we were living in Missouri, we were broke. Shopping with $20 for a week of food broke. Scrounging up change so we could share a slushy for a date broke. We had lots of conversations around the kitchen table about how to spend what we had. We had lots of good things we would have loved to do like give to missionary's, help pay for stuff at the church, buy from local farmers, all good things. But if we had chosen to do those good things, we would have found ourselves in a bad place, much like today's government.

When looking at our budget, I find we lose money on the small things. Matt and I are not really the type to go out and refurnish our house on a whim, but we will go out to dinner. Or buy a shirt. Or take the kids to the museum. Or all of the above. This adds up. The government does the same, slowly leaking money. Read this if you want to be really mad. Our government is past the point where the slow leak is the problem, it is now at the "sell your stuff and move into a smaller house" point.

When looking at the American budget, it is good to understand where your money is going. Let me break it down for you in bite size pieces:

You pay $100 in taxes and it is spent as follows:

Social security, welfare, unemployment: $22
Medicaid and Medicare: $20
National defense/public safety: $20
Education: $16 ($12 would go to primary and the rest to college and library's and such)
Cost of running government: $4
Interest on loans: $9
Miscellaneous: $10 this is your roads, parks, and everything else the government has its hands in

Defense spending is equal to the expenditure of 15 of the next top spending countries, but our GDP is higher than theres too. Our spending makes up 47% of the worlds military spending while our GDP makes up only 21%.

I am the one in our family who works the budget. This in no way qualifies me to figure out the national budget but here are some things I would do:

-Reduce time limits for welfare and public assistance from 5 years to 3.
-Empty prisons of anyone who isn't a US citizen. Give there counties notice that they will be shipped back in 30 days.
- Make the food stamps program more like the WIC program. Coupons for a few, specific, healthy types of food. No other.
-Put a 2 year halt on defense development spending.
- Up the retirement age
- Stop all bail outs, you can't give away money you don't have
- No more "stimulus". To much spent and to little to show for it.
- Make a 30 day time period where illegal immigrant can become citizens just for showing up at a Social Security office with the understanding that they can not get any public services (Medicaid/foodstamps and such) for 36 months. Digitally finger print everyone so there can be no fraud. We are now collecting taxes on thousands of new citizens!
-Sell off all the empty buildings the government holds and pays to care for. Money made in the sale and no more paying to keep them up.
-Responsibility. If you are in charge of a program that wastes money or commits fraud, your required to pay back every penny times 2. It comes from your states budget.

A wise man once said "you can't borrow your way out of debt any more than you can drink yourself sober". So true. Stop passing the buck, everyone added to this problem.
The last year of president Bushs' leadership the debt was 1/10th of what it is today, with tax cuts and while funding 2 full wars. But we kept spending like we had money to spare. Time to start digging.

2 comments:

NLWilliams said...

listened to a very enlightening radio spot on NPR about 6 months ago where two people were talking about Food Stamps and how we need to combat childhood hunger and a caller called in, asking why food stamps have no regulations other than that the purchase be edible and why it couldn't be more like the WIC program. (exactly what you just mentioned and what I have wondered countless times!) And the government representative stumbled and stuttered and said, "I just don't think there is even the infrastructure for something like that...that would just be impossible to implement...that just seems ludicrous..." etc. etc.
And yet, there IS the infrastructure...otherwise how does the WIC program (also a federally funded program) operate so effectively with all its rules/regulations?
This is something that I (obviously) feel very strongly about! Glad to see that someone else sees it the way I do! (and you have some other great ideas as well)

Denise said...

On top of that I don't really believe that there is as much "child hunger" as is touted. When I was working for a grocery store I saw so many parents come through with their food stamps in hand buying soda, twinkies, chips, cookies...well, you get the idea...and that was the norm. I was a single working mom not on food stamps and I couldn't afford those luxuries...Matthew was better off for it. On top of your ideas, Gretchen, we also need to re-evaluate our foreign policy of giving to everyone who asks.