Government spends little on programs that keep us secure | Letter to the Editor
July 18, 2012 · Updated 10:12 AM
I have a contract with the federal government: During my working life I was to pay into Social Security and Medicare and in return would receive a certain level of income and health care in my senior years. Today many conservatives propose breaking that contract by cutting back on my old age security. Some also want to maintain income tax cuts for millionaires and maintain the bloated military budget. All of this is in the name of balancing the federal budget, calling it, as a recent letter writer did, “spending discipline” (“Spending discipline needed to end debt,” July 11).
The total U.S. federal budget for the 2012 fiscal year is $2,847 billion. Of that, 48 percent goes to the military, including current and past wars that Congress has failed to audit (as required by the Constitution). “Physical resources” are budgeted 6 percent and include Departments of Agriculture Interior and the Army Corps of Engineers. “General government” is budgeted at 8 percent and includes Departments of Justice and State and the Legislature.
Finally, the budget category that seems to rankle conservatives most, Human Services, comprises 38 percent of the total. As the recent letter writer said, “It’s time for new leadership with … courage to make necessary cuts in spending and the social programs.” Those social programs and entitlements include my contracted security (along with millions of other Americans), education, food, nutrition and housing programs.
For some conservatives maintaining tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent is sacrosanct, only adding a paltry $829 billion of revenues over the next 10 years, according to the Center on Budget and Priorities.
Conservatives, including some in the Obama Administration, argue that we should not cut the military budget because doing so would make our country vulnerable. Yet, according to The Economist, “America spends as much on defense as the next 17 countries combined, most of whom are American allies.“
A greater security issue in these economic times is the economic security of the 99 percent of us living on Main Street.
— Kate Hunter