Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 46
Dr Bob,

I hate scrolly posts, but here you go...

Public broadcasting costs roughly $225 million per year. Public television gets $169M of that $225M. That's just a hair over 1% of 1% of the federal budget. It's not even a rounding error.

Planned Parenthood takes in approximately $550M in federal money in 2012. This one almost reaches 1.5% of 1% of total federal outlays. Of course, that money is forbidden by federal law from use in performing abortions. They used that money to provide STD screening and treatment to 4,500,000 people and to do cancer screening and prevention for another 1,300,000 people. Your 2 suggested cuts haven't reached $1B out of a $3.8T budget.

I don't disagree about agricultural subsidies - As the market has shifted from production by thousands of family farmers with no pricing power to production by a concentration of large agribusiness, the need for rationale for subsidies has become obsolete. In 2012, agricultural subsidies totalled in the neighborhood of $14B. That's 0.37% of the total federal budget.

So if we total all those cuts so far we get just under 2/3 of 1% of the federal budget. It's chicken feed (no pun intended).

About 50% of the $121B we spent on education went to fund university research, food for poor kids, special education need, and job retraining to combat unemployment. Maybe there's room to tinker at the margins with education, but eliminating the department? probably not a good idea.

Why don't we look at defense? We spent $952B on defense in 2012. That's 23% of overall federal spending. It's 52% of federal discretionary spending. Maybe that's the place to look for cuts? Like when the Army says it doesn't want any more M1 tanks, maybe we don't force them to buy more. Stuff like that.

Maybe we don't need 8300 tanks, 18,500 armored vehicles, 15,000 airplanes, and the men to operate them to ensure our national security in a post cold war world. Maybe that force mix is wrong and a new, more affordable one, would allow us to ensure our security at a much more affordable cost.

You could cut social security, but it wouldn't do much either. SS took in $805B in 2012 and only spent $736B, so monkeying with the program isn't going to do much especially now that the FICA tax rate has returned to normal.

That leaves Medicare. That's a sizeable expenditure and there has to be a way to cut it down. The trick is finding a way to do it that won't mean a death sentence when a poor person gets sick.

Anyway, my point is that it's easy to talk about making government smaller. It's much much harder to find a program where the cost so dramatically ourweighs the benefits that we can cut the spending as a no brainer and make anything more than a miniscule impact on total federal spending.

Print the post  


When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.