Thursday, October 28, 2010

Math is Hard

Jill over at Brilliant at Breakfast (scroll down to Monday 18 Oct) had a great economics post that pretty clearly lays out the math of federal deficits and revenue.  She writes:

Paul Krugman pointed out yesterday that when you have a recession and people are out of work, government revenues drop vs. expenditures:

The Republicans would have you believe that if we "cut spending" and reduce tax revenue even further, the budget will be balanced. According to this graph, spending right now is about $5.3 trillion. Revenue is about $3.95 trillion. I wish someone would ask Republican candidates how they plan to cut over $1.3 trillion in spending. The Republican so-called "Pledge to America" pledges to cut spending back to 2008 levels, which still puts us at about $4.7 trillion. This pledge also comes with promises of FURTHER tax cuts, reducing revenue even more.

Not even the most radical Republican plans, such as eliminating the Department of Education, will make a dent in that gap. Only dramatic cutbacks in military spending (which we never hear about, not even in the context of trying to find the billions that went missing in Iraq) AND the elimination of Social Security and Medicare (which ARE part of the Republican agenda) will.

Economics is a difficult subject, but I try valiantly to dig deep enough to understand it.  I do know this: repeating the phrase "tax cuts" and "reduce spending" won't cut it--such statements MUST be accompanied by specifics, not platitudes. 

The reduction in spending absolutely MUST must look hard at the Defense budget.  I've previously posted here about how the U.S. spends its military dollars; I'll include the 4 most shocking points again below:

US military spending accounts for 48 percent, or almost half, of the world’s total military spending.

US military spending is more than the next 46 highest spending countries in the world combined

US military spending is 5.8 times more than China, 10.2 times more than Russia, and 98.6 times more than Iran.

US military spending is almost 55 times the spending on the six “rogue” states (Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria) whose spending amounts to around $13 billion, maximum.

Do you think that maybe, just maybe, we could beat some those swords into plowshares and provide health care and quality education to all Americans, plus take care of our crumbling infrastructure?


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