We’ve got a real public awareness/education problem here:
A majority of Americans prefer cutting defense spending to reduce the federal deficit rather than taking money from public retirement and health programs, a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday showed.
The poll found 51 percent of Americans support reducing defense spending, and only 28 percent want to cut Medicare and Medicaid health programs for the elderly and poor. A mere 18 percent back cuts in the Social Security retirement program.
The Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs, known as entitlements, and defense spending together account for about two-thirds of the $3.7 trillion federal budget, but they are not a major part of the debate in Congress over spending cuts.
Lawmakers are more focused on cutting so-called discretionary spending, but some experts say Congress will eventually need to cut entitlements to make a major dent in the country’s $1.6 trillion deficit and $14 trillion debt.
The poll suggests lawmakers could face political peril if they touch the popular health and retirement programs.
“People recognize that defense is a big part of the budget and they are more likely to want to cut things that don’t affect them directly,” said Ipsos pollster Cliff Young.
So you cut Defense and not entitlements. Take that farther; eliminate Defense and don’t touch entitlements. You still have a $1 trillion deficit. Look it up. The projected deficit is $1.6 trillion. the Defense budget request is for a little over $600 billion. Total discretionary spending is only $1.1 trillion.
Mandatory spending, on the other hand is $2.1 trillion. Mandatory spending is as follows:
- Social Security – $761 billion
- Medicare – $468 billion
- Medicaid – $269 billion
- TARP – $13 billion
- All other mandatory programs – $598 billion. These programs include Food Stamps, Unemployment Compensation, Child Nutrition and Tax Credits, Supplemental Security for the Disabled and Student Loans.
You can safely ignore, for the barest of moments, the fact that not one of these programs is Constitutional to see that no matter how much is cut from discretionary spending you cannot balance the budget, let alone begin paying off the debt. Add the Constitutional element back in and you cannot deny that Defense is a proper function of the Federal government.
Just like a home budget—cut the extra stuff first, then pare back on the necessities if still needed.