Some key takeaways for me. Education, TSA, NIH, EPA and IRS fall under 'discretionary' spending of the federal Government. They are key services that truly identify a developed country from a developing / underdeveloped country. These are not 'luxury' services but basic necessities to ensure a healthy, successful nation, which is set up for continued success in the future.
How is it anything, but short term thinking leading to significant long term consequences? Now, I am not saying Congress has an easy job. Raising taxes to fund the increasing expenses for a developed economy that is facing some challenges isn't an easy solution either. However, you don't let the next generation pay the consequence. Isn't that one of the basic tenets of the American dream - a better life for the next generation?
I'd long considered USA to have sane politicians who knew what they were doing and were ready for compromise for the good of the country. However, certain decisions like this make me question what they were thinking...
This year, discretionary spending — which encompasses airport security, infrastructure, education, research and development and much more — will be lower than it was in 2005. (All spending figures are adjusted for inflation.)
Since 2003, the National Institutes of Health, which supports critical research into diseases ranging from cancer to AIDS, have seen their funding fall by 23 percent, forcing an 8 percent reduction in grants to researchers even as applications were rising by 50 percent.
In the last decade, inflation-adjusted spending on all education has fallen by 11 percent, including more significant cuts in grants for K-12 programs and to school districts serving low-income students.
Since 2010, the Internal Revenue Service’s budget has been slashed by about 18 percent, even as the I.R.S. was given new duties in connection with the passage of the Affordable Care Act. The result: The enforcement staff has shrunk by 23 percent, leading to a similar reduction in the number of audits.
Then there’s the Environmental Protection Agency, whose budget has been cut by an enormous 27 percent — about $3 billion since 2010. As a result, over the same period the agency had to eliminate more than 2,000 workers, bringing its staffing to the lowest level since 1989.
All of this while the defense budget of the country is much north of half a trillion dollars each year. Yes, you read that right.
Is it because the country has skewed priorities? What is it the Congress knows that the rest of the country doesn't / agree with that's causing the difference in priorities.
It's not easy to just transition money from one side to the other, and it will take time. However, how are we not focusing on re-educating those who lost their jobs from the manufacturing sector into other growth areas - technology, health, renewable energy? USA comprises smart, entrepreneurial people who will make the most of the situation. The job of the Government is not just to 'protect' the country from hard forces like terrorism, but also from soft and equally devastating forces like lack of education, lack of health and basic research to keep the innovation machine humming.
Enough has been said about this and my rant is likely not going to change. However, there in lies the most depressing fact about this. USA is supposed to be better than this. In times of crises, they come together to make the country stronger, better and set it up for success for now and for the future. However, the country is currently being failed by their politicians and Government.
So, come November, vote for progress, vote for reason, vote for support. Please don't vote for implosion and quick fixes to things that cannot be changed in the first place.