A Balanced Budget?


This year President Clinton will submit his proposed legislation for the
Federal Budget to Congress. The fact that we have divided government (ex.,
Democratic President, Republican majority in Congress) means the majority of
that legislation won't make it through the first ten minutes of a Congressional
session. The President in turn will veto legislation presented to him by
Congress. The whole situation is a vicious, never ending circle. Each side is
looking out for their own best interests, and after years, even decades of this
the United States has a huge budget deficit. Is there a solution to all this
madness? Is it feasible to balance the Federal Budget? Every politician on
Capitol Hill claims to have the answer. The Federal Government goes as far to
employ some of the most renowned economist's in the world to try to solve the
deficit mess, and they still haven't figured it out.
The budget simulation exercise by The Committee for a Responsible
Federal Budget provided choices Congress has to use as its guide for the
upcoming year. How hard can it be to balance the budget I thought? After doing
the exercised I realized the title of the simulation exercise, "The FY 1997
Budget: An Exercise in Hard Choices," could not have been more appropriate. It
is possible though to balance the Federal Budget, provided you follow 3 simple
rules. First you must decide what you feel is important, then cut without
consciousness, and if that doesn't work, alter your baseline.

Important Choices

When deciding on what I thought was important to protect in the budget,
I felt like a politician myself. I protected my own self interests. First up was
Defense. The fact that I am in the Marine Officer Program weighed heavily on my
decision to increase Defense spending by 17.6 billion (all amounts in billions,
unless noted), following the Congressional Budget Resolution. The President's
plan just didn't provide enough capital, the Congressional Black
Caucus/Progressive Caucus would basically wipe out my career before it even
starts, and I just can not have that. Next up is Education. Without the direct
student loan program, I would have no way to fund my education other than going
to some bank and going through the demeaning process of begging a loan officer
to lend me money for school. I feel a sense of loyalty to the President on this
issue, because without this program I would still be doing concrete construction
back home in Indiana. As a result, I voted to increase Educational spending
33.4.My other concern or problem area is Administration of Justice. Crime is way
out of control in this country. There has to be an end. I voted to increase
spending 23.6, opting for the President's budget because it provides enough
capital to temporarily combat the problem. You might be thinking, wow this fool
just increased the deficit by 74.6, but unless are borders are protected, are
children educated, and until we can feel safe in our homes at night, this
country won't realize it's potential.

International & Domestic Spending

At this point, the deficit stands at 883.6 (809 billion beginning +
current spending). It is time to cut the waste. First, International Affairs
requires attention. Does the United States really need to fund every country's
struggle? I don't think so, so I agree with the Budget Resolution Conference
Agreement (BRCA), and I vote to cut 12.4.
Next on the list, General Science, Space and Technology. I vote to
discontinue the Space Station Program. As the report says, scientists have lost
interest so why keep funding it. Another 11.2 by the wayside.
The Energy issue is a complex one, but nevertheless the DOE has to go.
The DOE is a bureaucracy of waste. The DOE has several institutions doing the
same research. By Eliminating the DOE as a go-between, money and time saved. The
BRCA proposal is more beneficial to my pursuit of a balanced budget, eliminating
4.2.
Natural Resources are a touchy subject, but in order to balance the
budget, everyone has to chip in. By charging the fair market value for natural
resources, 21 billion saved.
Agriculture is essential, but it is not necessary to increase salaries
and expenses of Farm Service Agency employees, which the President's budget
does.. The BRCA cuts 4.1.
Commerce and Housing Credit, another huge buearucracy, has to go. By
eliminating the Department of Commerce, and by broadening FCC Authority to
Auction Licenses, total saving equals 10.4.
Transportation is another touchy subject, what with all the airline
tragedies and train crashes. This subject is constantly in the news. Terminating
the Federal Transit Administration and leaving the states to be responsible for
funding, 23 billion saved. Also by reducing or eliminating