Government Spending & Budget

As many Federal departments and agencies lurch into an era of

running without funds, the leaders of both parties of Congress are

spending less and less time searching for a compromise to balance the

budget, and more and more time deciding how to use it to their

advantage on the campaign trail. Meanwhile money is easily borrowed to

pay for government overhead. In an attempt to change this, on June 29,

Congress voted in favor of HConRes67 that called for a 7 year plan to

balance the Federal Budget by the year 2002 (Hager 1899). This would

be done by incorporating $894 billion in spending cuts by 2002, with a

projected 7 year tax cut of $245 billion. If this plan were

implemented, in the year 2002, the U.S. Government would have the

first balanced budget since 1969.

There is doubt by citizens that a balanced budget will become

reality. A recent Gallop Poll from January, 1996 showed the budget as

the #1 concern among taxpayers, but 4/5 of those interviewed said they

doubt the GOP will do the job (Holding 14). Meanwhile, an ABC poll

from November reported that over 70% of those polled disapprove of the

current performance by Congress, and most blamed politicians for

failure to take action (Cloud 3709). These accusations of failure to

follow through come with historical proof that Congress and Clinton

have failed to compromise and resolve the issue. After all, current

budget plans are dependent on somewhat unrealistic predictions of

avoiding such catastrophes as recession, national disasters, etc., and

include minor loopholes. History has shown that every budget agreement

that has failed was too lax. One might remember the

Gramm-Rudman-Hollings bill that attempted to balance the budget, but

left too many exemptions, and was finally abandoned in 1990

(Weinberger 33).

So after a pain-staking trial for GOP Republicans to create,

promote, and pass their budget, as promised on campaign trail 94,

Clinton rejected the very bill he demanded. This essentially brought

the federal budget back to square one. Clinton thought such a demand

on Republicans to produce a budget would produce inner-party quarrels

and cause the GOP to implode. Instead, they produced a fiscal budget

that passed both houses of Congress, only to be stalemated by a

stubborn Democratic President Clinton. Meanwhile, Clinton bounced back

with a CBO scored plan with lighter, less risky cuts to politically

sensitive areas like entitlements. Clinton?s plan also saved dollars

for education and did not include a tax increase, but most cuts would

not take effect until he is out of office, in the year 2001. Although

Clinton is sometimes criticized for producing a stalemate in budget

talks, the White House points out that the debt has gone down since

Clinton took office, with unemployment also falling. Republicans are

quick to state that Clinton originally increased taxes in 1993 and cut

defense programs, but his overall plan was for an increasing budget

without deficit reduction.

Startling Facts about the budget:

As of 1996, the national debt was at an all time high of $5

trillion dollars, with interest running at a whopping $250 billion per

year (Rau M-1). This equals out to an individual responsibility of

more than $50,000 per taxpayer. Nearly 90% of that debt has

accumulated since 1970, and between 1980 and 1995, the debt grew by

500%. Currently, the debt grows by more than $10,000 per second (Rau

M-l), and at current rates, a baby born in 1992 will pay 71% of his or

her income in net taxes. At current rates, our government is about to

reach its breaking point. If that?s not enough to scare a taxpayer, by

2002, 60% of government spending will be for entitlements, and by

2012, these programs are projected to take up all government revenue

(Dentzer 32). Not only economic development, but also family income is

hurt by debt. With the cost of living going up, it becomes harder to

find a job. According to the Concord Coalition, real wages peaked in

1973 and have gone down ever since. If the economy grew as fast as it

did in 1950, without a debt, the median family income would be

$50,000, compared to the present median of $35,000 (Rau M-1).

As of current fiscal year?s budget, the United States government

spends $1.64 trillion yearly. $500 billion of that, or 1/3 of the

total, is for discretionary