Politics Magazine

Budget Cutting Is Not A Bad Idea (If It's Done Right)

Posted on the 18 September 2014 by Jobsanger
Budget Cutting Is Not A Bad Idea (If It's Done Right)
The chart above was made from information in a new Rasmussen Poll. That survey was taken on September 11th and 12th of a random sample of 1,000 likely voters nationwide, and has a margin of error of 3 points. It shows the American people want the budget cut, and 52% say they are afraid the budget won't be cut enough (while only 38% are afraid it will be cut too much). It seems that a lot of people are buying the Republican argument that the federal government is spending too much.
I don't necessarily agree with that. I think we have a bigger problem with the reduction in tax revenues instituted by the Republicans (mainly for the rich and the corporations) than in government spending. The spending has been cut, but the revenues remain inadequate -- because many of the rich pay a smaller percentage in taxes than the middle class, and many corporations pay no taxes at all (even though they make billions in profits).
I may surprise some regular readers with my next statement. I agree that government spending could be cut, and those cuts could be drastic cuts.
I have railed against the cuts proposed (and passed too many times) by Republicans. But my opposition was not against spending cuts -- it was against where those cuts were being made. The GOP wants to cut everything that helps ordinary Americans (education, unemployment benefits, poverty programs, environmental programs, clean energy research, job creation, infrastructure repair & rebuilding, etc.). The only thing they don't want to cut is defense spending. They want to increase that (to funnel even more money to their corporate buddies.
The Republicans claim cutting domestic programs would cure our faltering economy, but they are wrong. Cutting domestic programs would take money out of the economy -- which would decrease demand (since there would be less money to spend), and that would depress business profits and job creation and worker wages. In fact, it could push our already faltering economy back into another recession.
So, where could cuts be made if not in domestic programs? The two charts below show where those cuts could be made. Note that more than half (52.74%) of the discretionary budget (that part of the budget that Congress controls each year) goes to defense spending (military spending) -- and that does not include spending for Veterans Affairs or Homeland Security or Intelligence.
And according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), that military spending is 39% of the entire world's military spending -- and that's a conservative estimate (since it doesn't include the spending for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq). It would take the next 11 biggest spending countries to equal the percentage spent by the United States (and more than that if you count the war spending).
That makes it pretty clear where the U.S. federal budget could be cut. The defense budget could be drastically cut without affecting this nation's ability to defend itself. Much of that money is spent to intimidate other countries -- not to defend this country.
You may be asking at this point -- wouldn't defense cuts also take money out of the economy? No, not if it is done right. We have more than 800 military bases in other countries around the world. Do we really need those bases? Do they exist to defend this country or to intimidate other countries? We could close many, if not most, of those bases without hurting the economy (or hurting our national defense).
We could also cut a lot of the money going to the military-industrial complex -- particularly those programs producing items that either don't work or that our military leaders say they don't want (and are not needed). These cuts would take some money out of the U.S. economy, but most of it is just sitting in corporate bank accounts rather than being used to purchase goods/services. And the bit that is spent in the economy could easily be replaced by using some of the money saved by the defense cuts to invest in other domestic programs (the ones the GOP is trying to cut).
We could make drastic cuts in defense spending, and none of it would have to come at the expense of our troops, our military readiness, or our defense capability. We are spending too much for the military budget and most of it goes into corporate pockets via the military-industrial complex. A significant portion of that money should be spent to help hurting Americans, and to reduce the budget. That kind of budget-cutting would make sense.
Budget Cutting Is Not A Bad Idea (If It's Done Right)
Budget Cutting Is Not A Bad Idea (If It's Done Right)

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