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A Modest Proposal: Or a serious look at the US Federal Budget

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posted on Mar, 21 2011 @ 04:24 AM
A Modest Proposal: Or a serious look at the US Federal Budget

The following will be a close and lengthy look at the US Federal Budget for 2011. I begin my journey delving into this morass here at GPO Access

Department of Defense
This is the US military and the largest expenditure. $548.9 Billion which is a 3.4% increase over 2010 spending. This does include $33.0 billion for a 2010 supplemental request and for operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. but does not include the request of an additional $159.3 billion for overseas contingency operations. Which would be current Middle East problems like Libya as well as disaster relief to Japan.

Part of the budget goes for medical care to more than 9.5 million beneficiaries: Which include active military members and their families, military retirees and their families, dependent survivors, and eligible Reserve Component members and families. And of course the pay of current members and retirees.

However, currently there are a lot of bases and other military facilities around the world. And I do mean a lot. Between all 5 branches there are 616 bases in the US and 164 bases in the rest of the world, the majority being Europe, Iraq and Afghanistan—which are war zones and should be gone or significantly reduced in the future.

The Army has 299 bases in the US (not counting Army National Guard Armories) and 125 bases in 9 other countries. The Air Force has 71 US and 36 in other countries. The Marines have 15 US and 21 in other countries. The Navy has 57 US and 18 in the rest of the world in addition to 11 aircraft carrier groups which are essentially mobile bases in their own right. And the Coast Guard has 174 bases in the US.

A considerable number of these bases eliminated. Like a Coast Guard base in Omaha, Nebraska for example. EU/NATO counties should provide their own military (or space as needed for US operations as needed). When you consider that $138.5 billion of the budget is military pay, would it not make more sense for some of that money be spent in US local economies as opposed to cities in Germany or South Korea? After all, money spent locally tends to help create local jobs and businesses.

A 20% reduction of the budget would save $109.78 Billion for 2011 alone.

Department of Agriculture
2011 budget is $132.3 Billion. This includes the food for WIC and Food Stamps as well as the crop insurance, food inspectors, etc. The USDA is also charged with 5 tasks for economic growth and job opportunities by setting aside 5% of the the special $26 billion discretionary spending budget ($1.3 billion) for the following:

    Access to broadband services--$418 million
    Innovative local and regional food systems--unmentioned
    Renewable energy programs--unmentioned
    Climate change--unmentioned
    Rural recreation--$700 million

We can only guess as to how the remaining $182 million (or is it $24.9 billion) is dispersed with the other 3 programs. But shouldn't Renewable Energy Programs be part of the DoE?

And if their programs are working, then why is much of the canned fruit and vegetables in Wal-Mart from South American countries? I would rather see the USDA spend more on encouraging home gardening and encouragement of farmer's markets for better self-sufficiency than propping up grocery store chains with bribe money to expand locations in areas where their own common sense tells them is a poor business investment. Realistically speaking, I think that a 5% budget cut could happen here without endangering the food supply and not just from the above specified special programs ($6.6 billion)

Department of Commerce
$8.9 Billion for 2011. Well how about that American economic competition? $712 million to NIST so you too will know that a pound is still 16 ounces. I joke of course, but NIST does help set standards for internet protocols, granting of patents through the patent office, etc. The SBA, Census Bureau, NOAA, NTIA, ITA and various other associations are administered through this department. Hard to trim the fat here but I think they could get by on a 5% cut ($445 million)

National Intelligence Program
The NIP is part of the CIA and by law, this funding is not public knowledge. So since this not the government's money but the citizens money. Your guess is as good as mine as to how much money is wasted where and on what to gather information on whom. Counter-terrorism, cyber-security, where the weapons of mass destruction are... it is all found here. How much of it is spent on going back in to people's pockets is anyone's guess as well. Maybe this is where some of those $500 hammers are bought now. Or maybe this is the lowest and most efficiently spent part of the budget and they would be embarrassed to admit how little is spent to keep the country safe from terrorism.

Department of Education
Before I even get into this, you can hear the chainsaw running. $49.7 Billion to operate and $135 Billion in loans. Let me start by saying that college is a business. Funded by enrollment and heavily subsidized by the taxpayers. All federal funding should be cut other than research grants that get tangible results (whether the study was successful or not—at least you know the idea did not work). Now if you cut out spending on colleges and let them sink or swim on their own, $8.5 Billion right there. Add to it the $135 billion of loans for colleges and you see a nice chunk of money saved. ($143.5 billion)

Department of Energy
$31.65 Billion for 2011. The DoE was created under Jimmy Carter with the main goal to eliminate dependence on foreign oil. This department has failed miserably at this task. Total savings potential here is 90% with the remaining 10% to be dispersed to other departments to handle things that have be taken care of like Nuclear Regulatory Board and inspectors. ($28.5 billion saved)

Department of Health and Human Services
This was once called welfare but it includes the CDC, FDA, Medicare, SSI and other beneficial agencies. Total budget is $900.85 billion. The estimated population of the US is 310 million people. This department has a budget of $900.85 billion. That is enough for every man, woman and child to be handed $2905.97, that is absolutely amazing. The Jamestown settlement had a policy, if you don't work then you don't eat. If the other departments really and truly accomplished job growth and job security, how low would this budget become? I am willing to bet close to $311.4 billion, however until that day comes let's go with 10% to ferret out wasted and redundant payroll and scam artists. ($90.1 billion)

posted on Mar, 21 2011 @ 04:29 AM
Department of Homeland Security
Created by George W. Bush to protect America from them there terrorists by placing intelligence agencies and law enforcements under one umbrella. $53.66 billion for ICE, Border Patrol, TSA, additional spending for the Coast Guard, Secret Service and FEMA among others. We might not be able to find Osama bin Laden, find the weapons of mass destruction (despite seeing a convoy of trucks make its way to Jordan via satellite before the Iraq war started), prevent small planes from being flown into the IRS building in Texas or even prevent Mexicans from illegally crossing the border. But by god your $53.66 billion will be well spent this year. And we can all sleep easy knowing full well that grandma can not bring a pair of fingernail clipper on a plane and that the cute blonde with the bid boobs is not wearing underwear when she passed through the full body scanner and that we will have a bed in the FEMA camp. I don't think anyone would miss 10% from this budget. I think they could lose 20% without planes crashing into other buildings or our phones being tapped out of curiosity and without a warrant being signed. So let's just say 15% so the terrorists don't win. ($8 billion)

Department of Housing and Urban Development
Ah, the American dream. A roof over your head and someone else to pay for it. But it is more than just that. You have FHA loans, GNMA (Government National Mortgage Association) which is called Ginnie Mae—no I had not heard that one either, but I really don't keep up with government finance programs.

The real boondoggle with HUD is Section 8 housing. Developers and Landlords get super rich off this. Here in my part of Ohio you can expect to pay $600-$2500/month rent for wherever you look. If a minimum wage job nets you $900/mo then housing, utilities, food and transportation is going to take the rest. It is simple math if you are single with no kids. Without the glut of rentals being Section 8 housing, rent would be more competitive. People could save money, invest or secure loans. A rising tide lifts all ships. And the purpose of welfare is supposed to be a bootstrap, not a means of tying people down into the system.

HUD has a budget of $47.5 billion ($1.4 billion being salaries and expenses) and loans out $550 billion in 2011 that might never be repaid in this economy. There could be a huge change in policy here that would get more people back to work by becoming more self-reliant. Let's trim 15%--$7.1 billion and 25% of loans--$144.6 billion ($151.7 billion)

Department of the Interior
$13.1 billion for 2011. Let's see here:

    $1.2 B for the BLM to slaughter wild mustangs
    $1.6 B for Fish and Wildlife Service to what every state already does
    $.064 B for assisting the development of Solar, Wind, and other alternative energy on federal land with the goal of producing 9000 megawatts of power
    $2.7 B to National Park Service (although the UN owns quite a few since Bill Clinton gave them away as World Heritage Sites)
    $2.6 B to BIA, which only fully recognizes around 13,000 members of the Eastern Cherokee Tribe. The Cherokee was one of the largest surviving tribes of the Eastern US

The department is a mess to say the least, surely some cuts can be made to the tune of $1 billion ($1 billion)

posted on Mar, 21 2011 @ 04:29 AM
Department of Justice
$31.3 Billion for 2011. Hmm the FBI receives $8.17 but we have no clue what the NIP budget is? $6.8 B for the Federal Prison System, so why can't we house, feed and clothe as well as provide medical and legal services for the entire US population for $6.8 Trillion and do away with a whole lot of other systems? Wait, $1.16 B for BATF, are there that many people selling to minors and making pipe bombs? And if we cut into the $2.13 B for the DEA, would we lower the cost of the Federal Prison System? And $2 B for Attorneys, let them file for unemployment. 20% cut ($6.26 billion) easy.

Department of Labor
$116.7 billion for 2011. Which is better than the $172.4 B for 2010...but yet unemployment is still pushing 10%. Well except for the 17-21% that reflect the actual number for those that do not qualify for unemployment but do not have a job. If we quit the policies that cause jobs to be outsourced and really work towards domestic manufacturing, we can save money here and with the DoD and the DoJ and that unknown element of the NIP. Can you figure on a 30% for an America for Americans? I can. ($35 billion)

Department of State and Other International Programs
$53.8 Billion and another $16.8 Billion in loans. Hilary Clinton's travel budget is not a separate line budget, no is Michelle Obama's. $446 million for the Peace Corp though for the express purpose of reaching the goal of 11,000 volunteers out of the workforce by 2016.
But we will sink $5.5 B in teaching foreign militaries how to fight the American way. Let's go for 15% in cuts. ($8 billion)

Department of Transportation
$75.3 billion. Considering that every retail good spends some time on a truck before it is purchased and our interstate system needs constant updating and repairs this should be difficult to make cuts in the DoT. Especially since this is a department that can make revenue with tariffs on imports...well if we didn't unilaterally slash them to bits with NAFTA and the WTO treaties and make outsourcing lucrative to businesses. I wonder why people that have a decreasing income have a hard time making loan repayments on houses purchased years beforehand?

But budget cuts, hmm.... $13 B to the FAA, I think we found some bloat in the budget while propping up airlines. 10% should be doable. ($7.5 billion)

Department of the Treasury
$93.4 billion for 2011. $12.6 B for the IRS. Repeal the 16th Amendment and there is a nice chunk of the budget. $50 million for Special Inspector General for TARP? Another $439 million for IRS collection in Puerto Rico—PR has a population of just under 4 million does it really cost $110 per person to collect taxes when the per capita income is $16,300 a year? There has to be a 20% cut in here, especially with the IRS gone. ($18.7 billion)

posted on Mar, 21 2011 @ 04:30 AM
Department of Veterans Affairs
$180.7 billion for 2011 and is a big one. Personally I have a hard time cutting any thing from veterans but there has to be 5% in waste to be found somewhere easily enough. ($9 billion)

Corps of Engineers—Civil Works
$11 Billion. Money spent here is money not spent in disaster relief and other agencies. And the budget is so small to begin with here. ($0 in cuts)

Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA has $19.1 Billion to spend this year to drive companies away or out of business and to continue to make life rougher on everyone by dumping sodium fluoride in the drinking water to help aluminum manufacturers hide their extremely toxic waste. Makes you wonder where all the soil from Superfund cleanup site go, now doesn't it? How about 25% less to accomplish the same nothing you always do. ($4.8 billion)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
$36.7 billion to scrub manned space flight and no longer come up with interesting consumer goods like Tang, Space Pens and Freeze Dried Ice Cream. Man needs to be in space for the adventure of finding new frontiers and redefining boundaries. As well as inspiring children to work harder so that they might achieve their dreams and goals. Not excited press conferences that are kept hush-hush because the listeners will be bored with what is said and often times a repeated confirmation of what people belived to be true in the first place like black holes do exist. When you realize that maybe you can have your 20% back. ($7.3 billion)

The Grand Total
The 2011 US Federal Budget is $3,615,172,000,000 That is $3.6 Trillion. My cuts were modest and rather realistic, even if I do say so. It trimmed $629.6 Billion. That would bring down the budget to $2.97 Trillion. Not the greatest in the world but it is a start 17.5% or roughly what was allocated for the budget in 2008. And this was even using a fine toothed comb to find the Bridges to Nowhere and other wastes of money start looking at what needs to be done. Sure many things were said a little tongue in check, but would you have read this far without some entertainment?

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