U.S. Government Spending
Government is typically defined as a group of people or institutions that administer the public policy in a country or community by exercising political or/and executive power through laws, customs, and traditions. The scale of power which the government can exercise depends on the political and economical strength of the community which is governed. The USA is one of the most powerful and developed countries of nowadays; therefore the U.S. government can be considered to be one of the most influential in the world. Other countries ask the USA for help, support, and defense in case of an emergency or crisis. The question is if the US government can always afford that assistance and whom they actually assist through the means of their tax-payers’ money.
It is obvious that the public usually evaluate the performance of their government by judging how well the people in the country live and how much money they can afford to spend. It all greatly depends on financial efficiency of the government and their reasonable allocation of funds. This problem is particularly urgent now because we are entering a new fiscal year of 2015. This is the time when the government has to report on how much has been spent as well as to plan the spending for the next 2015 fiscal year. All the data the public may be interested in are presented in the official “Fiscal Year 2015 Budget of the U.S. Government”. Actually it has already been made public and can be accessed via Internet. It represents a detailed evaluation of what the government has planned to do in each social and economic sphere in particular. Special attention is paid to cuts, consolidations and savings aimed at maximizing “the value of every taxpayer dollar while increasing productivity and the quality of services” (“Fiscal Year 2015 Budget of the U.S. Government” 153).
However, despite the fact that every citizen can find that information about the government spending plan, they are often unaware of where the money flows. According to the Pew Research Centre survey (Ingraham) most Americans believe that the largest share of the government spending goes to foreign aid, the second largest one is for interests on debts, and only then there is social security and transportation. However, social security, on the contrary, accounts for the largest share while foreign aid is the last in the list. Such misunderstanding of what the things are results from the fact that Americans are greatly influenced by news reports constantly announcing the USA’s participation in different overseas social and political issues. In contrast, Americans do not feel the government’s care, perhaps, due to wrong social funds allocation. For instance, welfare accounts for only 8% (0.5 trillion) of all social spending for 2015 (6.6 trillion) (“Total 2015 Spending by Function”); however, it is what makes people confident of safe and sound future for themselves.
Catherine Rampel, an opinion writer from Washington Post online edition, complaints that nowadays politicians generally do not think about children and their wants. Spending on kids as a budget share is predicted to decrease within the next decade (Rampel). The author is astounded by the fact that while the government spending on children is going to decline, the share allocated for the elderly population is going to grow. First of all, it can be explained by the fact that the population of the elderly is increasing and the number of kids, on the contrary, is decreasing. However, Catherine Rampell also supposes that the reason is the kids do not take part in voting, but the elderly do.
C. Eugene Steuerle, one of the Urban Institute report’s co-authors, says that this shrinking of the children’s share in the federal budget is not deliberate, but is just the result of laws issued by policymakers many years ago (Rampell). He believes that if all the laws are abolished and the new system is to be developed, it would be completely different. Thus, the conclusion is it is high time the government reconsidered the laws administering financing and funds allocation.
One more sphere financing of which the U.S. government must carefully consider to make the people of the country satisfied is health care. It should be noted, though, that this sphere has long had nothing to complain about as it got one of the largest share of the budget (20% for 2015) along with education (16%) and pensions (19%). But economists admit that the slowdown can be foreseen in this sphere as well (“The Slowing Growth of Medicare”).
Thus, the decline of spending in most important spheres is clearly observed. As early as in April of this year Paul D. Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman and a possible White House contender in 2016, announced a budget plan according to which $5 trillion were supposed to be cut in spending within the coming decade (Weisman). Even though the government explains it with the deficit the Treasury Department experiences and the necessity to bring the country’s finances into balance, the public cannot help being dissatisfied with such decisions. And it will certainly deprive him along with his party of advantages during elections. Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee says, “Budgets are the clearest roadmaps for discovering what people’s priorities are” (Weisman).
This idea expressed by Chris Van Hollen clearly demonstrates how important the question of budget funds allocation is for the government as it defines their actual efficiency and priorities according to which the people of the country will then decide whether they are willing or not to live on with this government and this President for another term. The government must not only rationally plan the budget, but then put it into practice so that the people see it all has been for their benefit and welfare.
Therefore, I believe the budget problem is the key one for the U.S. government at present. They are entering a new fiscal year with new plans and hopes that these plans will work out and benefit the country. Even though some of the government initiatives concerning budget cuts may not be appreciated by the people, let us hope they are all for the better. Let us hope the government is looking for better outcomes, if not for the people but for themselves (as the elections are coming). And we will evaluate their work and make conclusions.
“Fiscal Year 2015 Budget of the U.S. Government.” U.S. Government Printing Office. Washington 2014. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.
Ingraham, Christopher. “Americans Have No Idea How the Government Spends Money.” Wonkblog. Washington Post, 2 Oct. 2014. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.
Rampell, Catherine. “Crowding Children out of Government Budgets.” Opinions. Washington Post, 22 Sept. 2014. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.
“The Slowing Growth of Medicare Provides an Opportunity for Reform.” The Post’s View. By Editorial Board. Washington Post, 4 Aug. 2014. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.
“Total 2015 Spending by Function.” 2015 Biotech Forecast. Comp. by Christopher Chantrill. 24 Nov. 2014. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.
Weisman, Jonathan. “Ryan’s Budget Will Cut $5 Trillion in Spending Over a Decade.” Politics. The New York Times, 1 Apr. 2014. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.