Saturday, September 27, 2008

What's not in

What's not in the discussion. The cost of our government. Not the discretionary spending we all know and see as our government. We're facing an additional $700 Billion expenditure for the bailout of Wall Street financial and investments firms and banks. Despite all the political rhetoric, and my own opinion, I think it will be done sometime. And despite 80% of Americans against the bailout and any money, Congress doesn't represent the people anymore, or at least most thee, but they represent corporations, and will always do their bidding.

Anyway, listening to the debates and campaign what I don't hear and either the candidates fail to understand, which I doubt, or they don't want to tell the voters the truth, is the budget. This has been an issue of politics since Reagan put it in the forefront of the campaign. Which is? The size and cost of government.

No President has fullfilled their campaign promise of reducing the size and cost of government, and despite the rhetoric, the Republicans have been worse at increasing the size and cost of government than the Democrats, including Reagan, Bush I and especially Bush II. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the taxcuts, the DOD budget and interest on the debt (doubled under GW Bush) have escalated the cost of government, it's likely we'll never get over and repay.

Add to that the social mandate programs, such as Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, there is very little left as all the rest is discretionary spending and only totals about 15 % of the federal budget, and only about 5% of the cost of government (wars and some DOD budget excluded from official budget). And this is everything else government does, including the federal agencies, and much of that is taken with the Homeland Security Administration.

This leaves only a few percentage points dedicated to the rest of our government, which is what the candidates complain needs to be cut and promise to cut. This is the part the pays for aid to cities and states, like police, education, infrastructure (roads, bridges, water/sewer, etc.), along with environment protection, forests, national parks, commerce, transportation, and so on. Everything we need a government to do and ensure everyone's wellbeing and safety.

And earmarks, the oft-cited enemy of the budget? They're a drop in the bucket of the total budget, a few billion in a budget in the trillions. We spend more in 2 months in Iraq than we spend on earmarks. While I grant you they're the most visible political target, especially in a campaign, some of which are clearly dumb and stupid, and shouldn't be in the budget, they're not that important in the overall scheme of the size and cost of government, and deflects the discussion away from the real issue.

So, why isn't all the other parts of the budgets also under discussion? In some cases, some parts aren't changeable, like the interest on the debt. Kinda' like we have to pay the piper for the debt the government has incurred, and don't forget it's not the fault of government (agencies) so much as Congress who writes the budget. Social Security is obvious, and although it needs some minor tweaking to stay solvent, it's just what it is. Now if Congress would stop borrowing its capital, it would be better.

The rest is off-limits only out of fear. War, Defense and Homeland Security seem to be off-limit's so we don't appear to be unpatriotic. That's pure and simple political bullshit. They're scaring you into this as all of these are wasting more money than all the other parts of government combined. We're losing billions to waste, fraud, and bad or unnecessary programs. They need to be more efficient, productive and effective, and that money put back into other domestic and social programs.

That's good government, not the republican tax and spend policy and practice they've had to date. And creating more debt than we will never be able to afford. Remember Clinton actually made the government profit to begin paying off the national debt? It was projected to be erased by now, but now look what GW Bush has done. It's nearly $11 Trillion. That's not conservative or republican, just stupid, at our expense too.

So that's what I want in the discussion. Not cutting useful spending and a handful of earmarks in the appearance of cost-cutting. I want real cost cutting where we can save big bucks. I want to hear about curbing Defense and Homeland excessive spending for programs we don't need and won't use. I want answers about the billions wasted in Iraq to fraud and waste. Money and equipment people can't account for and can't find anymore.

I want investment in America and the American people. That's what's needed, not political and campaign rhetoric.

I want to hear how we'll really get rid of the decifict and debt through real cuts, not accounting tricks, like taking the cost of the wars out of the budget and numbers.

I want to hear who really owns America, our trade and national debt so the American people really knows who owns us and our future.

I want real answers to real questions.

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