Friday, February 14, 2020

National Budget

When the Senators, Congress people, and President all gather around to start discussing issues of the budget, many people get worried. One of the biggest worries is that taxes will rise, and there will still be a deficit. This worry is fueled each year, because as the inflation rate rises, the money must come from somewhere to fund everything that is necessary for the government to function.

Some are questioning how rational some of the spending is however. Many departments could use a serious slim down, while other departments desperately need more money. While the defense of the nation is very important, many question why schools and education are not given a larger portion of the budget so that proper job training can be administered. This would enable students to graduate with a better understanding of the career world into more graduate-centric employment opportunities, such as those within the services sector.

Funding the budget is obviously never easy, but with taxes getting higher each year, there is nothing being done to increase the minimum wage at the national level. Many citizens are left to stress over how they can possibly continue to pay their tax bill each year, still have enough money to live, and be able to take care of their families. The budget crunch that many families face every day is very similar to the task of the politicians in dealing with the national budget, except it is the people on the front line facing the toughest decisions and fighting their daily battle.

Each year the department heads all gather together to bring their budget requests in. They come with ideas of improving their departments and asking for more money. The idea is that other departments can have some items cut from their expenses. This is a decent concept, however dollar for dollar the government really does not do a good job of managing money very well. Given that there are so many conflicting interests and political pressures, it is difficult to understand the logic behind some of the decisions made in relation to the budget.

If a business managed money the same way the government does, they would have gone bankrupt many years ago and been forced out of business, with the directors prosecuted for wrongful trading. This is directly the result of much wasted spending that is sliding into the budget each year. NASA, for example has spent thousands, upon thousands of dollars developing a pen that will write in space. The idea of a pencil never crossed their minds. The money spent developing a pen that is rarely used could have been better spent in training teachers so that students were receiving the education and materials they need. Arguably, the idea of funding space exploration at a time when there is a budget deficit is also irrational; surely this money would be better spent elsewhere until we manage to pull ourselves from the red?

There are numerous cases and examples of money wasted throughout our public sector. There are also just as many examples of departments forced to cut corners and skip necessary tasks, needs and maintenance, or putting essential work back until the next budget is announced, because it is not in the budget at a price they can afford. There is always a hope that at some point in the near future that the United States will manage to pull out from under the deficit that it has created and restore itself to having a surplus budget. It will take time, effort and a great deal of belt tightening to get there. Nevertheless, it will happen at some point. Frivolous spending can only last so long before coming to a halt, at which point we can start to increase our surplus to the benefit of our national and local public services, before finally seeing the lowering of taxes that we s disparately need.