Because the post grew so lengthy, I decided to wait and share today what I learned about how our government allocates the funds raised through taxes ... so here goes. This one is long too ... but hopefully you'll bear with me and do some exploring on your own. I'm interested in your thoughts on any or all of this. I'll be at my PSE6 class this morning so I won't be visiting until later this afternoon when I return.
National Priorities Project (NPP) states that it:
"... is a 501(c)(3) research organization that analyzes and clarifies federal data so that people can understand and influence how their tax dollars are spent. Located in Northampton, MA, since 1983, NPP focuses on the impact of federal spending and other policies at the national, state, congressional district and local levels."
Exploring this site, I clicked on a link entitled Federal Budget 101 and found a wealth of comparative financial information dating back to the 1940s through 2009 and organized into categories. After examining many of the links, I encountered these charts:
I note that 3% is spent on 'Veteran's Services' ... 3% on 'education, training, employment & social services' (despite many 'Federal mandates' left unfunded for implementation) ... 2% on the 'administration of justice' ... 1% on 'natural resources & environment' and 1% on 'international affairs' ...
Of the 20% allocated for 'national defense' ...
I noticed a 'widget' showing the costs of the war in Iraq and watched the numbers speed by ... remembering my 3 recent 'Peace Posts' and all the others shared last week ... thinking how many have lost their lives in what was supposed to be quickly accomplished through 'shock & awe' (not to mention paid for by 'oil money' from the area). I decided to embed the widget in my sidebar as a reminder to myself and others ... just because.
My thoughts went to things like ...
1. all the cutbacks in educational spending (something I watched over the 34 years of my career as a teacher) & the state of our schools today ...
2. the inattention to public works & maintenance on our roads and services ...
3. the health care mess, financial crisis ...
4. I was angered once again about how the Social Security Fund was literally robbed to 'balance budgets' (seriously ... if there was MONEY instead of IOUs that will NEVER be paid in that fund, the compound interest over the years would alleviate the so called Social Security crisis)
... so I looked further and found a page that allows one to enter the area in which they live to find State, Congressional District, County, and City information.
There I learned:
Taxpayers in California will pay $83.1 billion for total Iraq war spending approved to date. For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided:
Go to Cost of War Counter
Copyright 2007 National Priorities Project
Many of the alternatives mentioned above appeal to my sense of priorities. None of this is conclusive for me ... it's all data rolling around in my head at the moment, but I felt others might find this information & the links interesting enough to explore on their own ... and perhaps comment below and/or blog about it too as a way to raise awareness and promote personal education & generate on-going dialogues with friends & family. Knowledge is power and we just can't afford to bury our heads in the sand indefinitely.
According to the US National Debt Clock, the outstanding public debt as of Nov. 12, 1008 at 3:35:38pm is:
so each citizen's share of this debt is $34,879.22.
The National Debt has continued to increase an average of
$3.98 billion per day since September 28, 2007!
This is already way too long with an overwhelming amount of information, so I'm going to stop here and close with the following thoughts.
Hearing yesterday that our government gave even more 'rescue' funds to AIG ... they had yet another 'expensive junket' at a posh hotel. When asked about this someone reportedly replied that 'these events would be paid for with other funds eventually' ... but I want to know when & by whom ... and if 'other funds' will be available, why won't they be used to pay the taxpayers back instead???
What are these people thinking??? When friends have being laid off ... have no health benefits ... can't meet their mortgage payment or buy gas & other necessities ... how can taxpayers be expected to foot this kind of bill ... seriously?
Thoughts for Today
"Buy what thou hast no Need of and ere long thou shalt sell thy Necessaries." Benjamin Franklin