The Sequester: When and Why
In March of 2013 action was taken in order to pressure policymakers in to a budget compromise and reduce spending deficits in the United States. Across the board spending cuts, known as sequestration, is meant only to catalyze compromise and not to act as a solution itself. The sequester is set to stay enacted until budget goals have been met, continuously cutting funding to federal agencies with each passing fiscal year.
Federal Budget Deficits: the Role of Mandatory and Discretionary Spending
It is known that over the last decade Federal budget deficits have been increasing. There are two parts of the Federal budget that need to be considered when assessing deficits and “solutions” that congress as implemented. The two parts of the budget are related to mandatory spending, seventy percent of the budget, and discretionary spending, thirty percent of the budget. Discretionary spending is noted to not require amending any major laws in order to cut the budget. Examples of discretionary spending areas vary between Head Start programs for youth education, and foreign aid to other countries during times of disaster or political unrest.
Major Problems of Debate: Mandatory and Discretionary Spending
It appears that one of the most striking problems resonating throughout Congress regarding their indecision is the lack of meaningful communication between parties. It has been illustrated through debates that relevant information is not presented, and active listening between different points for consideration is also not happening.
Mandatory spending plays host to heated debate. Mandatory spending programs include Social Security, farm subsidies, and food stamps or SNAP. These programs are called entitlements, anyone who applies and fits the criteria are allotted the benefits. Mandatory spending programs such as these amount to sixty four percent of the total spending by the US government. Mandatory spending differs from discretionary spending by the specifications of fulfilment. Mandatory spending programs’ benefits must be provided to the applicants regardless of cost, by law, each year. Congress can, however, limit mandatory programs’ spending for future years, by changing criteria or reducing benefits, but future solutions are not the answer to present problems. Discretionary spending also is the subject of a law that sets precise budgets for the programs.
A large portion of the debate present among the discretionary spending hubbub is the unrest regarding entitlement programs, or programs like Social Security and Medicaid that assure benefits to those who meet the criteria for enrollment. This is hotly debated because of the entitlement – something for nothing – mentality. Nicholas Eberstadt contends that programs such as these funded by other people’s earned money is weakening America, through morale and the economy. Although Eberstadt asserts malingering is the problem. As defined by the...