According to an analysis from The Associated Press, President Obama proposes a budget designed to end political bickering and instead attempts to bring about the long sought "Grand Bargain" that will help our Nation move forward. How does he propose to do this? As follows: (note Red is a Cut, Purple is an Increase)...
Agriculture: Spend $145.8 Billion, a decrease of 5.9%
Commerce: Spend $11.7 Billion, an increase of 34.3%
Defense: Spend $682.9 Billion, an increase of 0.5%
Education: Spend $56.7 Billion, an increase of 10.8%
Energy: Spend $32.5 Billion, an increase of 35.3%
Environmental Protection: Spend $8 Billion, a decrease of 9%
Interior: Spend $12 Billion, a decrease of 2.7%
Health and Human Services: Spend $949.9 Billion, an increase of 5.4%
Homeland Security: Spend $45.2 Billion, a decrease of 34.8%
Housing and Urban Development: Spend $47.2 Billion, a decrease of 50.7%
Justice: Spend $30.5 Billion, a decrease of 13%
Labor: Spend $72.6 Billion, a decrease of 33.4%
NASA: Spend $17.7 Billion, an increase of 0.1%
Securities and Exchange Commission: Spend $1.67 Billion, an increase of 27%
State Department: Spend $47.3 Billion, a decrease of 17.7%
Transportation: Spend $127 Billion, an increase of 50.2%
Treasury Department: Spend $500.2 Billion, a decrease of 5.9%
Veterans Affairs: Spend $149.5 Billion, an increase of 10%.
Included in the President's proposal, is a written offer to adjust Social Security by linking it to Chained CPI, a statistical mechanism that lowers Social Security benefits based upon cost of living increases "chained" to consumer prices being driven lower by lower costs (even if the actual costs do not actually "fall"). Clearly not equivalent to actual cost of living adjustments, but an obvious way to further reduce benefits. The president has also offered to reduce Medicare benefits to couples making more than $170,000 per year. Amazingly, this is not enough for Republicans. According to Paul Ryan (R-WI), "I don't see this as fundamental entitlement reform..." Huh? Isn't there something incredibly wrong when Republicans adamantly refuse to consider closing tax loopholes for the wealthy as a mechanism to raise revenue from the very few, while demanding cuts to entitlement benefits that affect the very many?
Having paid into Social Security since the age of 14, I have a problem having folks identify the program as an "Entitlement." The only thing I demand is to receive benefits that equal my contributions. Any benefits received after my contributions are exhausted can and should be considered an "entitlement!" But Progressives on the Far Left are so furious with Obama, The New York Times reports groups are being formed to challenge any Democrat in the upcoming 2014 Mid-Term Primary electionsvoting in favor of the President's budget . Doesn't this prove that both parties have to cater to their extreme base? Does it not prove that those of us in the middle must figure out what is in the best interests of our nation, become activated and push for candidates that will lead for all of us and not the extreme wings of either party? Isn't it time for moderates to stand up and be identified as such, MODERATES?
We have big problems with our country and they are not all budget related. We have an education gap widening between rich and poor. We have a social structure favoring the wealthy over the poor everyday, and that gap continues to widen. We have political parties being paid by special interests to push their ideologies through oriented For-Profit Media that clearly run counter to the best interests of all Americans. As President Reagan once said; "It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first." It's time to take a step back, take off our political blinders, and realize that budgets and their reform cannot solve all of our problems and that thinking they do creates new problems. We can change the way Washington operates. We can change our leadership. We can create a new direction for our nation. We can do it, all of U.S.!