Category Archives: 2015 Budget

Social Programs, Social Security and the 2015 Budget

The Real Budget for 2015 is what is discussed here – not the Paul Ryan chimera budget or that gift the Republicans want to offer the American people wherein they take back whatever of our tax monies they have not yet gotten their hands on.

The total budget for 2015 includes about 3.9 trillion in spending. This makes up about 21% of all the money spent in the United States during this budget year. Some money is for mandatory programs and some for discretionary programs. This chart sums up the spending in both areas.

This chart shows where the money for the budget items comes from:

The following chart shows our debt:

This final chart shows that tax breaks are greater than our discretionary budget. Tax breaks do not change until the tax code changes and right now we find it impossible to change the tax code because of the pledge the Republicans signed with the group Americans for Tax Reform. They did make their promise to American citizens, but I am not sure how many citizens were actually privy to the pledge. I do know that Grover Norquist threatens to see than anyone who breaks their pledge will not get reelected and he has managed to make that stick.

So our “poor” Congress people (especially the Republicans) have put themselves between that proverbial rock and a hard place. The only way they can solve the debt is to cut social programs (and they really don’t mind because, after all, they reason, the programs are making people lazy) or to raise taxes either by actually raising taxes on the wealthy or by closing tax loopholes, neither which they can only do without costing them their remunerative jobs. We can see why they are so avid to close out the Social Security Program; it is because they owe it so much money and we are the least scary people our government owes money to.

Why aren’t we angry about this? I’m thinking that most Americans do not think that there is anything effective that they can do. That’s why I am so cheered to hear the Progressives out there saying “Let’s expand Social Security”. I really believe that, whether it is a fantasy or not, it is what America needs to do until a new program is put into place – a new program that works as well as this one has but which does not ever allow the money people pay into the program to be touched, no matter how desperate things get.

By Nancy Brisson

The Uncles

Uncle Sam

We are on the edge of taking the medicine that Paul Ryan has been prescribing for us ever since the “Great Recession” of 2008. This is the austerity budget that Europe is beginning to abandon because it has not helped their economies. This is the budget that has been readjusted so the wealthy can keep even more of their money while supposedly teaching the 47% valuable lessons about self-sufficiency. That should be fun. Let’s see how much more money we can send to the 1%.

Can President Obama veto a budget? Does he have that power? I looked it up; he does. Maybe it would be a good kind of awful to live under this budget until the 2016 election. Perhaps that would convince people that budgets are not moral instruments meant to punish individuals who Republicans theorize have become dependent on “Uncle Sugar” (which is what Evangelical Republicans call Uncle Sam when they want to accuse us of being addicted to living on the government dime).

Uncle Sugar2

A government such as ours has no money of its own. Whatever money our government has comes from us. We all pay our taxes; we paid into Medicare; we paid into Social Security. We, quite foolishly it seems, counted on those we elected to govern for us to design programs that worked so our money would come back to us as we were promised it would. Some of the money in our Federal budget must have come from the very 47% who are accused of malingering.

However, if the Republican budget, the Paul Ryan budget, passes, I am thinking that we will all hate it so much that we will finally understand that we cannot elect a Republican President right now.

The House of Representatives already passed their version of the budget. The Senate will take up their version next. They disagree, we are told, about military spending. Both houses want to increase it, but the Senate wants ‘pay-fors’ and the House has not worried about how we will pay for military budget increases. Will the Republicans finally reach agreement now of all times, just when we wish they wouldn’t. We shall see.

Obviously, I am torn. I am grateful that we have President Obama to veto the budget. If this budget were to pass and to go into effect we might not be able to vacate it easily. We might be stuck with cuts in programs that would be very difficult to reverse. Many Americans will be adversely affected by this budget. That would be bad. Another part of me believes that this budget would be so disastrous, so painful that all Americans would be saying is Uncle, that unnamed uncle that means “we lost”, “we surrender”, “end the pain”. I don’t think we can afford to conduct an experiment to see how much human misery we can generate. So we really only have one option. President Obama needs to kill this budget.

uncle cry2

By Nancy Brisson

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