Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Armed And Ready, But For What?

The New York Times has a useful interactive graphic on President Obama's 2012 budget here. It doesn't include percentages, so I've provided them below. Also, the graphic misleads regarding Social Security: The program also pays for itself, meaning that while it is part of the budget, it does not contribute to the debt. Key areas of expense by percent of the budget (rounded):
Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: 30%
Social Security Administration: 22%
Treasury: Interest on the National Debt: 13%
Defense - Military Programs: Operations and Maintenance: 8%
Defense - Military Programs: Military Personnel: 4%
Defense - Military Programs: Procurement: 3.5%
Agriculture: Food and Nutrition Service: 3%
Labor: Employment and Traning Administration: 3%
Agriculture: Farm Service Agency: 2.5%
Office of Personnel Administration: 2%
Transportation: Federal Highway Administration: 2%
Treasury: Internal Revenue Service: 2%
Veteran's Administration: Benefits Programs: 2%
Other Defense Civil Programs: Military Retirement: 1.5%
Veteran's Administration: Veteran's Health Administration: 1.5%
All other departments are budget at less than 1%.
I'm no financial analyst, but this looks to me as if (a) we're for some reason armed to the teeth, and (b) we're getting older without preparing for it (or the debt wouldn't be so high while Medicare costs increase). Plus, it appears that for every dollar we spend on weapons, we spend more than two maintaining them.

Read the Times editorial on the budget here...

The debate -- such as it is -- over our aging population is all wrong. Conservatives see it as opportunity to gut Social Security and Medicare, two programs they've been sharpening their knives for since becoming law. The real question, though, is this: How will we as a nation deal with the requirements of an aging population while keeping the social contracts implied by Social Security and Medicare? Is the answer really to put elders on their own at a time when the next generation of Americans faces the possibility of limited prospects?


Roy said...

I really don't understand why the President thinks he has to accommodate the Republicans. These people honestly believe that people unable to survive bad times deserve to be eliminated from the economic gene pool; Ayn Rand wrote the founding document of their agenda over 50 years ago. Why does he feel he has to compromised with people who believe something so immoral and anti-human?

K. said...

I'm not against reordering priorities, and I can't think of the last president who proposed cutting Defense spending in any way. Although I doubt that the reductions proposed here will amount to cuts in real terms. It's a start I guess. Still, this shows once again how petrified (as in wood) our political system has become.

Someone has to start telling the truth about Medicare, though, or we'll lose it. The Republicans poisoned the well on that score last year with the death panels demagoguery and by portraying the ACA's efficiencies as cuts. It's what they wanted, and they got it.

Christine H. said...

This was a real eye opener. The amount of money we spend on defense is indefensible.

Darlene said...

The money we spend on two wars would go a long way to solving the problem. A single payer medical system would further eliminate the need to cut social services.

The politicians always balance the budget on the backs of the poor and vulnerable because they know they don't vote or contribute to re-election campaigns.

injaynesworld said...

Thanks. I hadn't seen this. I found it sad to hear this week that the funds to aid the elderly and disabled in paying for heat will be slashed in half to 2.5 billion. Meanwhile, we keep giving subsidies to the oil industry.

I'll be 62 in April and I'm signing up for Social Security immediately because who knows what the hell is going to happen to it with this crew in charge.