Publisher's Note: Cut what?
By Jody Reese
It's easy to say the federal government spends too much. In 2009 it spent $1.5 trillion more than it brought in
We've got to get spending under control. But what?
In 2009 the federal government brought in $1.3 trillion excluding FICA (Social Security and Medicare) taxes we pay. We paid out $700 billion in military spending and another $600 million in costs for Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development and other government programs. If that was all we spent, we’d break even.
But in 2009 we spent $425 billion on Medicare and took in $191 billion, leaving $234 billion in deficit. Social Security broke even, but we spent $259 billion on Medicaid with no off-setting revenue. Then we spent almost $700 billion on military and federal pensions, unemployment compensation, student loans and other promised benefits. In total we spent $1.5 trillion more than we brought in.
Both parties say that we need to get this spending under control, but neither will offer any specifics. And the reason is easy to see. If our politicians actually get serious about cutting the deficit they will have to make cuts that will anger voters, like reducing military spending or cutting medical care for the elderly and poor — or raise taxes.
There is little honest discussion about the real hard choices we face. If we really want to continue to maintain a large military force and provide medical care for the poor we will all have to pay more taxes. Anyone for that?
Good Economic News: The discount airline Jet Blue reported increased traffic on its planes for the month of September and national magazines are reporting higher advertising sales for the fall season.
On the local side, the state lists almost 900 job openings for the Hillsborough County area from a janitor position at the Radisson in Manchester to senior computer programmer at the Health Dialog Group in Bedford; the big box stores (Macy’s and Lowe’s) are also hiring seasonal help.