Mili Note: I wrote this to show that even using the official numbers and information, the GOP budget plan (which is fiscally better than the Obama plan) is still worthless and will get us nowhere towards solvency.
Republicans in the House of Representatives approved and presented a budget on Friday that is supposed to cut $4.4 trillion from the national deficit over the next decade. The partisan floodgates immediately opened and the rhetoric started to fly on Capital Hill and in the media.
So.. what will this budget really do and, more importantly, is anyone who’s talking about it being honest at all? Or is the whole thing just a sham in the opening season for the 2012 elections?
What the budget will really do is anyone’s guess, since these budget issues are so complex and so hard for anyone but the most dedicated pundit to follow that most of us are left confused. This means we end up depending on those few who can decipher (or at least pretend to with a straight face) the budget – most of whom have a specific axe to grind. So every analysis should be taken with a grain of salt (and two more for good measure).
Add to that the fact that most of what’s happening in Washington right now is really just showboating on behalf of candidates or parties as they all gear up for the 2012 presidential election season.
But even for the most fiscally illiterate amongst us, two things are abundantly clear about this budget:
- It does nothing to cut the military-industrial complex’s piece of the budgetary pie (it actually makes it larger), and
- It doesn’t eliminate the deficit, even by half.
The Warmongers Will Be Funded
We are currently at war or conducting military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, and possibly conducting covert action in Syria, Egypt, Iran, and others.
The new budget adds at least $700 billion to the Department of Defense’s budget. Officially, in the U.S. 2010 budget, the DoD was 20% of our total national budget. In reality, it was much larger because the official $689 billion budget did not include the budget for the ongoing actions outside of Iraq and Afghanistan (which are also allowed to overrun).
The “Discretionary” spending, which is roughly equal to the DoD’s operational budget, is largely spent on these unfunded operations. Estimates of actual DoD spending for 2010 vary, but it is definitely over $1 trillion all told.
The costs of our wars around the globe, whether “official” or not, far exceed the money handed over in the theft scheme commonly known as the Banker Bailouts of 2008. In fact, official numbers on those bailouts show that those funds (distributed over a couple of years) didn’t even equal the amount of money being spent at the DoD.
Now, before anyone starts screaming about how we don’t pay our GIs enough and how they shouldn’t be given anything but the best in equipment and care, let’s look at the DoD’s actual spending on medical and payroll versus their spending on gadgets and war machines:
- $154.2 billion for personnel
- $3.1 billion for family housing
- Totaling $157.3B for personnel costs.
- $283.3 billion for operations and maintenance
- $140.1 billion for procurement (buying things)
- $79.1 billion for research, development, testing, evaluation
- $23.9 billion for construction (non-housing)
- Totaling $526.4 billion for non-personnel costs.
That’s just the non-discretionary spending budget. Discretionary funds, remember, almost equal non-discretionary. A very large chunk of this money goes towards interest payments on debt, which has grown steadily since the 1970s.
More importantly, the entire budget itself is much larger than the money coming in from taxes.
The $4.4 Trillion Nick To the Deficit
The $4.4T that the GOP plans to cut from the budget over the next 10 years is barely a nick in the actual deficit that will be incurred during that same time.
Currently, and for the past two or three years, the U.S. has been going over $1 trillion into debt every year. Federal tax receipts, over 40% of which are to the FICA (Social Security) fund, are just over $2 trillion. Our total spending (in the official budget) was nearly $3.5 trillion in 2010. That’s $1.5T of red ink.
Over 10 years’ time, that $1.5T becomes $15 trillion in debt. Not including interest. $15 – $4.4 = $10.6T left over. This means that, proud as they are of their budget proposal, the GOP’s plan barely scratches the overall debt we’re going to take on for the next decade.
Any Way You Slice It
No matter how you look at it, the partisan bickering and b.s. that goes on in Washington is doing nothing to allay the actual problems we face. If we’re going to keep running as the United States of America, we are going to have to make some very hard decisions about our fiscal lives.
Everyday Americans have had to own up to their personal overspending in the past few years. It’s about time the federal government finally did the same.