The GOP isn't serious about balancing the budget, because if they were, we'd be talking about Defense and Medicare spending as the top priority. This outline is a joke, because it only amounts to a total of $74 Billion - according to the article - which is an incredibly small amount of the $1.4 Trillion budget deficit. Both political parties are in complete denial.
The classic test of whether politicians are serious about balancing the federal budget is whether they confine their suggestions to eliminating earmarks, foreign aid, and fraud, waste, and abuse. Politicians love to rail against these things because they're unpopular and therefore make attractive targets. But doing so is a dodge. All combined, they account for only a tiny fraction of federal spending, so doing away with them does little for the bottom line. Anyone who implies otherwise isn't being forthright about the problem or the possible solutions. But politicians have always gotten away with this because most voters don't know enough about the budget to realize they're being snowed.
I love how the GOP outline targets some of the people with the least - such as cuts to food aid to pregnant women and their children, and Legal aid for the poor. Oh, and let's make sure we cut the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Watch the Frontline documentary Poisoned Waters if you think cutting $1.9 billion from the EPA is a good idea.
And let's just forget that most US companies don't even pay taxes or about the tax loopholes and subsidies for multinational corporations that don't need them. No, let's target the poor.
The very first place that I would start cutting, and I mean cutting big, is the Defense Department with all their corruption, waste, and global military empire delusions.
Fraud is big business at the Pentagon. Always has been, always will be. When you're spending more than $1 million a minute, some is bound to be pilfered one way or another. But it's rare to find all such chicanery cataloged in one place. Thanks to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, we now have one-stop shopping for Pentagon fraud.
He asked the Defense Department to pull together data on how military contractors have hoodwinked taxpayers in recent years. The report says the Pentagon spent $270 billion from 2007 to 2009 on 91 contractors involved in civil fraud cases that resulted in judgments of more than $1 million. Another $682 million went to 30 contractors convicted of criminal fraud in the same three-year period. Billions more went to firms that had been suspended or debarred by the Pentagon for misusing taxpayer dollars.
"With the country running a $14 trillion national debt, my goal is to provide as much transparency as possible about what is happening with taxpayer money," Sanders says. "The sad truth is that virtually all of the major defense contractors in this country for years have been engaged in systemic fraudulent behavior, while receiving hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money."
I love this quote from Rumsfeld:
Pentagon contracting has been broken for decades. Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld said -- on September 10, 2001 -- that "according to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions." The next day was 9/11, and counting Pentagon dollars was no longer a top priority.
This was back when Defense spending was a third of what it is today - imagine how much we're talking about now.
The second thing I would cut, abolish, rewrite, or properly fund would be Medicare part D - the prescription drug benefit. This program is a massive unfunded government giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry.
Anyway, none of the politicians are really serious about balancing the budget unless they're talking about Medicare and Defense spending.
House Republicans emerged from an emergency meeting about the budget Thursday night sounding unified around a newfangled stop-gap spending measure that would achieve cuts of $100 billion.
Freshmen, once again, were the driving force that sent the GOP leadership to head back to the drawing board for deeper slashes to spending just a month into their majority.
The newly elected lawmakers wanted what GOP leadership assured: $100 billion in cuts, now. Not prorated over the remainder of the fiscal year. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Thursday night in the basement of the Capitol that the cuts Republicans are proposing would equal $170 billion over 12 months, instead of the seven months covered by the CR.
Here's the GOP's big gift to a reduction in Defense spending:
In short, the plan for $100 billion in savings includes $84 billion in domestic discretionary savings and $16 billion in defense cuts, which GOP leaders say would not have an impact on the troops. This could still cause anger from outside Republican groups, in addition to the conservative Republican Study Committee. RSC Chairman Jim Jordan, from Speaker John Boehner’s home state of Ohio, has insisted that cuts don’t touch defense spending.
A measly $16 billion, that's all they can do? When you think in terms of the big picture - where total defense related spending is just over $1 trillion dollars a year, this isn't even worth mentioning. But even with such a small cut proposed, and all this debate taking some time, here come the Defense supporters lining up to cry foul.
Obama to unveil a bigger Pentagon budget next week
The White House is slated to unveil a bigger Pentagon budget for fiscal 2012 next week, but a cost-cutting feud in Congress is making military contractors nervous about the funding for some very lucrative long-term programs.
I'm really sorry that the military contractors are nervous about their "very lucrative long-term programs". There seems to be alot of people in the US who are just a bit worried about whether they're going to have food, a place to live, and whether their government is going to default on it's debt. So, I'm not feeling very sympathetic toward the military contractors at the moment.
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