Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Aid’

NUMBERS ANYONE?

Friday, September 19th, 2008

I have read my fair share of ranting asking how Obama will pay for his expansive budget plan. In particular the following parts are controversial to the Anti-Obama voters:

• A $65 billion-a-year health plan
• $15 billion in green energy spending
• $85 billion in tax cuts and credits
• A $25 billion-a-year increase in foreign aid
• $18 billion a year in education spending
• $3.5 billion for a national service plan

Oh the avaricious right would have you believe Obama is planning on spending, spending, spending…with no means to pay for it. This is a silly accusation. We, lefties, think in terms of people but we are not stupid. Some prefer numbers, even if they distort information to get them. But for the sake of prosperity, let’s discuss Obama’s economic plan on terms they can comprehend, figures. I was digging around in the federal budget for 2008 today, searching through hidden drawers, finding little tidbits to see what numbers I could use that would be fair and accurate. I found some.

In 2008, Bush requested a sum of $141,700,000,0001 (yes, folks BILLIONs) in appropriated (discretionary) funds to be allocated for Department of Defense emergency operations in the Global War on Terror. This is not base funding, it is not the mandatory funding allocated for defense…it is in addition to it, it is extra emergency SUPPLEMENTAL funding allocated for the “War on Terror”. This money is even above and beyond the $70,000,000,000 ($70.0 BILLION) allocated in the 2007 Defense Appropriations Act for such purposes. This is $388,219,178.10 per day in ADDITIONAL emergency supplemental funds (back-up to the back-up emergency funds) allocated to a war that should have never been started and will not continue, if Obama becomes President.

This is a good number to begin with, don’t you think? It is not the regular budget. It is not the defense budget (which can be argued and skewed in every direction). This is simply surplus-surplus funds (not as in extra money we have to spend frivolously but simply extra money allocated frivolously) sent over to this illegitimate war, a war Obama never wanted us to get into and fully intends on pulling us out of as soon as safely possible, upon election. A war McCain supported from the beginning and has no solid intention or concrete plan on ending.

That money alone would pay for the majority of “spending” Obama has planned. Let’s look at the remaining amount. $211.5 Billion dollars was the original amount of the “offensive suggestions”, right? Subtract the $141.7 billion (just one year’s supplemental back-up emergency funding for the war that will end under Obama) and this leaves a balance of $69.8 billion.

Let’s not forget Obama’s budget will provide a comprehensive health care plan for everyone, green energy spending (READ: LEGITIMATE MEANS TO END DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL AND GET US OUT OF THE ENERGY CRISIS WE ARE IN), $85 billion in tax cuts and credits for 95% of American households (immediate and long-term financial relief), more foreign aid (which will help improve foreign relations, which…um, will, uh, help reinforce the allies we have not alienated in the past eight years through our excessive use of military might, ignoring our own international agreements and throwing diplomacy out the proverbial window), a better educational system (paying teachers more, focusing on math and science to ensure our future generation is competitive in the technology of tomorrow, helping families afford college etc.) and expands our national service plan (helping people to work within their own communities to improve their own lives and the lives of others, to improve the community and the country as a whole).

However, I digress, back to the $69.8 billion dollars that needs a home in the budget.

Let’s eliminate the tax cuts for the richest 10% of Americans (who hold over 70% of the nation’s wealth)2 GASP! Or we can simply deny the additional $70 billion Bush requested for the 2009 version of the $70 billion extra supplemental funds asked for this year, to fund his War on Terror. Looks like the rich don’t even have to help. Simply ending the excessive spending on a war that Obama does not support will pay for all of his proposed spending with some left over ($200,000!).

But, now that I have done all this research, let’s play with the numbers a little, shall we?.

Pretend for a moment, not that we steal from the rich, but that we make them pay the taxes they should already be paying. After all, our taxing system is progressive. It was introduced as progressive, accepted as such and should remain as such. Translation: each person pays as per their income. The rich will pay more than the poor, but such is the progressive tax system in the United States.

The rich can afford more, so they should pay more…period.

If Richie Rich earns a billion dollars, he should have to pay the appropriate amount of taxes. Lisa Lackey is underemployed, she still pays her fair share even if she can’t afford them. Joe Average, gets a promotion and doesn’t see it all reflected on his next paycheck but he continues to pay his taxes as well. Lisa and Joe continue working hard to get promotions, hoping someday they can retire without financial worries. And both still pay their fair share year after year because neither can afford the same accountant who ensures Richie Rich receives fat and unnecessary tax-breaks.

Let’s for fun (hypothetically) take away the $116.6 billion in tax cuts for the richest 10% in FY 2009 and see what sort of fun we can have…

We could provide:3
34,365,274 People with Health Care for One Year OR
120,711,046 Homes with Renewable Electricity for One Year OR
2,518,359 Public Safety Officers for One year OR
1,999,571 Music and Arts Teachers for One Year OR
18,027,211 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR
907,020 Affordable Housing Units OR
51,391,674 Children with Health Care for One Year OR
16,001,098 Head Start Places for Children for One Year OR
1,915,400 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR
1,684,667 Port Container Inspectors for One year

Healthy, smart fun for everyone! Why don’t we discuss the realistic trickle down effects of this kind of spending rather than the non-existent theoretical trickle-down effects of laissez-faire type of economy the right-wing philistines prefer? Those who consistently bark about the unnecessary governmental spending by the Liberals, conveniently forget or justify their own spending (unnecessary wars, big corporations, corporate welfare due to excessive to excessive de-regulations, tax cuts for the rich…etc.)

Make no mistake about it, we are not talking about our everyday budgets here. We are talking about the country’s budget. Numbers look larger, more frightening, perhaps even irritating when we, the citizens, are struggling to make ends meet but Obama’s numbers are no bigger than McCain’s or any other President in the past for that matter. And Obama does have a plan on how to come up with the money. Numbers, such as these, seem astronomical to the average American but every national budget plan is more or less the allocation of our tax dollars to different priorities. So, ask yourself, do you want to take care of the economy with the same policies that got us here? Or do you want to try a sensible way?

  1. http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy08/pdf/budget/defense.pdf []
  2. http://solutions.powersimsolutions.com/Ranking/HistoricalPerspective.aspx []
  3. http://www.nationalpriorities.org/tradeoffs?location_type=1&state=888&program=276&tradeoff_item_item=999&submit_tradeoffs=Get+Trade+Off []