The US government boggles the mind.
It is SUPPOSED to be "for the people, of the people, and by the people."
It seems that "the people" are the only ones left out of the government.
Our politicians have, with few exceptions, become extremists; compromise won't be considered; forget about acting on a compromise opportunity.
As a nation we are not just "broke" financially, we are in hock - to governments that are our enemies, specifically China. We are told by the intelligentsia to pay down our personal debt; get rid of interest payments. Good advice; true advice. But the government - the one that fails to recognize "the people" - promotes additional spending and additional borrowing. The debt "ceiling" at the end of 2012 stood at $16.4 trillion. TRILLION. That, in US English (vs. British English) is 1,ooo billions. 10 to the ninth power.
In the UK, a trillion is a "milliard."
One of the problems is that in order to pay down the debt, the national "belt" must be tightened. What better place to tighten than within the (Washington DC) "beltway." At rush hour it's a speedway at 10 mph - maximum.
So where does the money go?
Everyone will tell us the money goes to entitlements, and the "entitlements" targeted by most politicians seem to be Social Security and Medicare.
Seems to me I paid into both those programs, programs made compulsory by the Federal government. The Social Security fund was supposed to be inviolate; dedicated solely to Social Security. Somewhere along the line the politicians figured out a way to "divert" money from the "inviolate" fund.
Head Start IS an "entitlement" program. Likewise farm subsidies. Ditto subsidized housing. There are many, many more true "entitlement" programs. The only thing "wrong" about Head Start is that it should have been time limited. It was established in 1965 - more than 45 years ago - "to help disadvantaged groups, compensating for inequality in social or economic conditions." If we need Head Start today it obviously didn't and isn't working as intended.
The biggest drains on the budget include:
- Loans-to-gifts to foreign nations, many of which are anti-American
- Payments to the very much anti-US UN
- Billeting military personnel overseas - do England, France, and Germany REALLY need a US military presence? We DO need Marine guards - locked, loaded, and authorized to fire - at all US embassies and consulates; at the same time, we need to tell the locals they can patrol outside the gates, but if they fail to provide protection at the level our people on the ground - not the fools at State in DC - demand, then the Marines will do the job.
- Interfering in civil wars; return to the provisions of the Monroe Doctrine; what business does the US have in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan, Syria, etc.? In a word: None.
- Congress can stop finding officials portraits currently costing $20k to nearly $50k for agency heads. Imagine what a presidential portrait costs!
- Expanding ground and air forces. We finally have reached the "ballistic" age where we have missiles and anti-missiles than could, if properly sited and manned, protect our nation. There always will be a requirement for ground troops, but at a lower personnel level. The missile-equipped Navy can show the flag overseas.
- OK, if the US is hunting terrorists and the terrorists are being protected by a country's government, do two things: one penalize that country's government by cutting off all aid and, two, use whatever measures to destroy the enemy - drones, SEALS, whatever, and damn any interference.
Those are just the proverbial "tip of the iceberg."
For all the above, nothing will happen until the politicians - so called liberals and so called conservatives - decide to put the country ahead of their egos and party banners.
The problems do not all lie with Republicans or with Democrats. Obama inherited many of the problems; all he has done is exacerbate them.
For what it is worth, I consider myself a fiscal conservative and social liberal. There are ways to reduce poverty - we know that "the poor always will be with us" - and these ways have a positive Return On Investment (ROI).