American Social Spending, How Much Is Enough?

rp_1200px-Seal_of_the_President_of_the_United_States.svg_-300x300.pngPresident Obamas SOTU speech provided the latest fuel on the fire of wealth redistribution in America. The President wants to tax us, funnel the money through the government bureaucracy, and send pennies on the tax dollar to pay for programs like community college. He also called for more regulations, for example to enlarge paid work leave. Forbes described the President’s speech as “More spending, dependency, and regulation”.

The blogosphere, twitter, and comments to online reports are full of the progressive army touting redistribution.

“It’s time that the 1% pay their fair share!”

“A caring country needs to support its citizens in need.”

“Republicans are uncaring and out to fill the pockets of the rich.”

The progressive left is never satisfied with how much tax money their programs cost, acting as if America doesn’t care about its citizens. Most likely however, most have no idea how much America already spends each year on social programs and wealth redistribution. A simple look at the Federal Budget shows that conservatively, over 60% of every federal dollar spent goes to these types of programs.

In 2014, that amounted to over $2.3T, and equaled 61.5% of the budget. In a few years, that amount is projected to climb to $2.7T in FY18. Table 1 below shows those figures, and the years in between. Funding for what I call “Regular Government” loosely aligned to what the US Constitution would support, in only $1.2T in FY14 (32.6% of the budget), and remains nearly unchanged through FY18, but shrinks to 27.8% of federal spending. Interest on the Federal Debt, which is the legacy of America’s social programs/wealth redistribution to date, is $223B in FY14, and more than doubles to $461B in FY18, growing from 5.9% to 10.4% of the budget.

Table 1

Table 1

The same information is shown in Chart 1 below. The bars correspond to the left axis (funding), while the lines correspond to the right axis (% of federal spending).

Chart 1 - Total Social Spending and Wealth Redistribution Funding vs the Rest of the Budget

Chart 1 – Total Social Spending and Wealth Redistribution Funding vs the Rest of the Budget

Progressives are either ignorant of these facts, or willingly hiding them. They speak as if taxpayers aren’t paying a dime in social spending. Americans, Republicans chief among them, are compassionate people, but the social safety net isn’t infinite, and this level of spending escalation is bankrupting our nation, and robbing future generations of their fortunes and liberties. The growth in annual interest alone will soon exceed the DoD budget, just to cover the minimum payment on America’s credit card.

The question is not one of more spending, but one of how to eliminate wasteful, duplicative social programs, and reform of the remaining programs to allow a solvent long term safety net. According to The Heritage Foundation for example, Social Security

“Beneficiaries face a 19 percent indiscriminate benefit cutif the Congress and president fail to act soon.”

Table 2 below breaks out the programs attributed to Social Programs/Wealth Redistribution and Regular Government above.

TABLE 2

TABLE 2

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Radicalism, Redefining The Threat

PIC_0251What is Radicalism? The fact that this word, and its usage by the White House, has become confused is intentional and the result of political correctness run amuck. If you asked most Americans what radicalism is, they would immediately think of 9-11, and radical Islamic terrorists. They would think of brutal organizations like ISIS, Al Qaida, Boko Haram and the murderous, terrorist acts recently committed throughout the world in their twisted efforts to further Islam. The Boston bombers, the attackers at the U.S. Navy Yard in Washington D.C., Major Nadal Hasan and the Fort Hood Shootings would likely also come up since they occurred here in America. Most recently, the attacks in Canada, and in Paris would get mentioned. All of these attacks have one, very simple thing in common, they were committed by radical Islamic terrorists.

Why then is the Obama Administration conflating the global threat posed by radical Islamists with “extremism” by hosting an 18 February Summit on Countering Violent Extremism while the rest of the West is focused on Islamic terrorism? The answer goes back to the beginning of President Obama’s first term.

I retired from the USAF in August 2012, serving my last ten years in the Pentagon. I watched the systematic purging of references to Islam, Islamic extremism, etc. from government and military documents and plans beginning shortly after President Obama’s first election. They were replaced with lessor domestic threats, generic examples or outright profiling of conservative thinking people and groups. This is no revelation. Many news organizations, and members of Congress such as Representatives Michelle Bachmann and Louis Ghomert, testified to the same changes, as reported in the “Washington Examiner”. The clear result was focus on the existential threat became blurred. Rep. Bachmann stated:

Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann Speaking to patriotic Americans

Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann Speaking to patriotic Americans

“This is truly censorship by our government, the government purging itself of documents, Bachmann said…We are not only seeing documents purged. We are seeing trainers purged and we are seeing the FBI library purged.”

Representative Ghomert voiced his concerns:

“We’ve got material being removed more because of political correctness than in the interest of truth and properly educated justice officials. We are blinding our enforcement officers from the ability to see who the enemy actually is”

Examples of efforts to redefine the threat include:

1. A Judicial Watch FOIA request that exposed a compliant FBI.
“The Obama administration labels conservatives “extremists” to delegitimize opposition to its radical socialism and to justify government oppression against them. And the Obama administration’s refusal to plainly identify and focus on radical elements within Islam demonstrates a willingness to overlook real threats to our security in the name of political correctness.”

2. DHS issued a report in 2009 titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic And Political Climate Fueling Resurgence In Radicalization And Recruitment.” The first key finding of the report was: “The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic rightwing* terrorists are currently planning acts of violence.” Among the definitions of rightwing it includes “those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority…”

That definition covers a large part of the American population, and would include all of this Nation’s founding fathers, George Washington among them.

3. 72 types of Americans the US Government now considers potential terrorists, based upon government documents.

4. Here’s an excerpt of what the White House is teaching regarding extremist threats to America:

Source: (DoD Training Materials, obtained by Judicial Watch)

– Definitions: “When a political ideology falls outside the norms of a society, it is known as extremism”
– Extremist “A person who advocates the use of force or violence; advocates supremacist
causes based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or national origin; or otherwise engages
to illegally deprive individuals or groups of their civil rights.”

– The activities of the founding fathers to break away from British rule are cited as “extremist ideologies”.

Some of the “Traits or behaviors that tend to represent the extremist style”:

1. Character assassination
Extremists often attack the character of an opponent rather than deal with the facts or
issues raised.
2. Name calling and labeling
Extremists are quick to resort to taunts (e.g., pervert, racist, and crackpot) to label and
condemn opponents and to divert others from listening to their arguments.
3. Irresponsive sweeping generalizations
Extremists tend to make sweeping claims or judgments with little to no evidence
4. Inadequate proof behind assertions
Extremists tend to be very fuzzy about what constitutes proof for their assertions
5. Tendency to argue by intimidation
Extremists tend to frame their arguments in such a way as to intimidate others into
accepting their premises and conclusions.
6. Use of slogans, buzzwords, and thought-stopping cliches
For many extremists, shortcuts in thinking and in reasoning matters out seem
necessary to avoid troublesome facts and compelling counterarguments
7. Assumption of moral superiority over others
8. Tendency to personalize hostility
Extremists often wish for the personal bad fortune of their enemies and celebrate
when it occurs.

Ideologies
a. Nationalism -The policy of asserting that the interests of one’s own nation are
separate from the interests of other nations or the common interest of all nations.

I bet most Americans would put the interest of the United States, and our allies, above those of other nations. This philosophy was the basis behind NATO, the ANZUS PACT, and countless other alliances that the US was a signatory to.

This brings us to the 18 February Obama Administration Summit on Countering Violent Extremism.

One violent movement stands apart in the world. Islamic Jihadists are intent on overthrowing the world order and creating a radical utopia, i.e. A Caliphate. Islamic Terrorists must be focused upon separately, not in a watered down “all the above” type throwaway summit. The fact that the Obama Administration is intent on doing the opposite tells us all that we need to know. It is trying to change the national, and possibly international, lexicon to focus on extremism in general, taking focus away from the existential jihadi threat.

UPDATE:

– DHS released another Intelligence Assessment focusing on the threat from “right wing sovereign citizen extremists”.

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What are The Federal Budget Giants?

What are the giant programs in the US Federal Budget? As promised in my last Blog, I break down OMB’s budget Functions within the Human Resources Superfunction in this Blog. The largest Function is clearly Social Security, exceeding $1T/year starting in 2017. By Comparison, the National Defense Superfunction is only $578B in 2017.

US Federal Budget - Social Security dwarfs the rest of the Functions including National Defense!

US Federal Budget – Social Security dwarfs the rest of the Functions including National Defense!

Note the distinct drop in spending in some of the Functions in (Income Security, Health, Education, Training, Employment and Social Services) after 2010. These Functions are within the Discretionary portions of the Federal Budget and were curtailed as a result of the GOP taking the House in the 2010 midterms. Social Security is within the Non-Discretionary part of the budget and was untouched.

Also note that the Health Function rapidly grew again despite initial reductions. This was due to paying for Obamacare, which was wrongly named the “Affordable Care Act”.

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