Politics in a Nutshell: Unequal sacrifice

Graphic by Kathryn Messinger

Graphic by Kathryn Messinger

 

On April 10, the House of Representatives approved their fiscal year [Oct. 1—Sept. 30] 2015 federal budget.

Following the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 and the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, the President is required to submit a federal government budget to the House of Representatives between January and February, while both the Senate and House must prepare respective budgets before Sept. 30 of the preceding fiscal year.

After spending hours reading through these incomprehensible numbers, I’ve come to the conclusion of what it means for us as a nation. If as much effort went into making the budget’s website as went into the political mechanics of the country, there would be no such thing as a debt crisis. The website is the epitome of bureaucracy including vague charts and propaganda, about terror and fighting for the “American” — the budget is even titled: “The Path to Prosperity.”Since the federal government has been in the business of following trends lately, time hasn’t been important to either governing body [President Obama released his budget in March, after House republicans agreed to raise the debt ceiling through 2015] since mid-term elections of 2010, according to an about.com article.

Paul Ryan, Wisconsin representative and chair of the House Committee on the Budget, promises in the budget to have the government’s funds completely balanced by 2024, cutting $5.1 trillion within the decade.

One of the budget’s highlights, among the drastic cuts to domestic programs as well as the advocacy of repealing The Affordable Care Act [according to a Washington Post article, this will be the 55th time that the house votes to repeal the law] is that Social Security has avoided the knife of republican philosophy.

According to the actual text, “this budget recognizes that the federal government must keep its word to current and future seniors,” and asks the president and Congress to enact legislation to reform the program. With the Republican track record of calling for the end of entitlement programs [social security being their primary target], this comes as a big surprise and sheds light on the future of the party.

This budget is very aggressive. In the grand scheme of things, 10 years isn’t a very long time. Change is not meant to happen in a flash, and if it does, then it’s only temporary. Change is a long, laborious process that involves not only physical actions, but changing the way one perceives the world. This budget values the zeroes matching, rather than the stability of our society.

According to a US News article, the budget also notes that a portion of the $2.1 trillion in cuts to health care subsidies, $732 billion in cuts to Medicaid and other health programs and $1 trillion in cuts to food stamps, Pell Grants and farm subsidies, will be used to increase the defense budget by $6.3 trillion over the decade (according to the budget), which Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has mentioned previously as unnecessary.

The budget also includes a very vague plan to augment the income tax system into two categories, as well as a plan to cut funding to the Department of Education.

As informed voters, I, as well as others, recognize that one can’t live beyond one’s means, but this budget calls for a tax break on the wealthiest of Americans, while cutting programs to those who can’t buy food. The so-called “entitlement programs” were created with the knowledge that many would cheat the system, but it was created to help the very few who need it most, just as the justice system was designed to keep the innocent out of prison, not to convict.

If cuts are what the Republicans in the House want, then bring them; cut the taxes on the poor and middle class, and raise them on the wealthy. Sacrifices are necessary, and should be compromised, not targeted at specific demographics.
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