Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Playing With the Budget Deficit

There is an interesting website, the National Budget Simulation, that allows people to play with setting priorities for the gigantic United States government budget. Want to try to balance the budget on the backs of the poor or give the wealthiest one percent of the country the tax breaks they deserve? You can test how your social goals would budget out here using the 2006 budget numbers, starting with a budget of $3.748 trillion and a deficit of $401 billion.

Military Spending
I would cut $208 billion (37%) from the nation's military spending, including completely eliminating funding for the Iraq War. "What," you say, "how can you leave us naked before our enemies?" That will still leave the United States spending $350 billion on our military. That is more than five times what the second place country, China ($63 billion), spends. We would still be spending as much as China, Russia, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Germany, India, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea are spending combined. That should be more than enough.

Military Retirement
Increases in medical care and veterans education will increase this line by $4 billion (3%).

International Affairs
Did you know that the United States spends more money supplying weapons to other countries than Spain spends on their entire military? Eliminate that deadly waste and increase spending on humanitarian efforts by $3 billion and we can cut this line item by $7 billion (22%).

Science, Energy, National Resources
Doubling the money spend on energy and land conservation, pollution control, and parks will add $22 billion to the budget. Increasing the science budgets by 10% and I would increase all of these budget items by $24 billion (a whopping 43% increase).

The rest of the budget
I would add $2 billion to community development and disaster relief, $6 billion to education, $7 billion to health spending, and $21 billion to aid low-income families. I would increase spending to help the most vulnerable Americans by $15 billion (about 4%). I would also cut $6 billion from the Justice Department since they are spending too much money spying on innocent Americans.

Adjusting Taxes
Eliminating the Bush tax cuts on the top one percent of taxpayers would bring in $117 billion in additional revenue. Increasing the tax cuts going to the bottom sixty percent of taxpayers would only cost $4.6 billion. Corporate tax breaks cost the country over $60 billion annually.

Looking at the totals
Between decreases in spending in the art of war and increases in spending on the environment and the less fortunate, I would cut spending by $157 billion. Reducing the tax cuts given to the richest Americans and the tax breaks given to mighty corporations, would increase revenue by an additional $170 billion. All totaled, I would reduce the budget deficit from $401 billion to just $75 billion. And that is me being extremely moderate.

The radical me would have no problem cutting the United States military budget in half and balancing the rest of the budget on the backs of the extremely wealthy.

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