* The FUD of Security vs. Liberty and US Budget Winners and Losers

Leadership by fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) is not leadership.

Leadership = Liberty + Security

Today I saw this on in email signature file:

“Every time you give up a right, the terrorists win.
Tyranny is something that creeps up on you.”

And it reminded me of this famous quotation:

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
– Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790)

Yes, America’s safety has been threatened since 9/11. No, we do not need to sacrifice liberty in order to counter the threat. The easy path is to simply sacrifice liberty (e.g. “Patriot” Act, NSA spying, ignoring the Geneva Convention). The hard path is to increase security while not threatening liberty. It’s un-American to sacrifice liberty. The easy path is a cop-out. The hard path is for leaders.

Budget Winners vs. Budget Losers

You might wonder where the money in the US budget goes. You might wonder where the Citizen’s Guide to the US Budget went (which was last published in 2002).

If your salary increases but inflation increases more, then you are worse off. Similarly, changes in the 2007 budget have to be viewed in context with previous budgets. The 2008 budget is approximately 3.5% greater than the 2007 budget. So if a particular line item increases by 3.5%, then its budget is (in proportion) the same as it was the previous year. Budget items that increased by more than 3.5% represent budget increases, budget items that increased by less then 3.5% represent budget cuts.

Here are some 2008 US budget numbers. The numbers in parenthesis are the percent change compared to the previous year’s budget.

Sorted by percent change in budget, here are the 2008 budget winners (whose budgets increased):

  1. $145,200,000,000 (+45.80%) – Global War on Terror
  2. $35,000,000,000 (+22.00%) – State and Other International Programs
  3. $39,400,000,000 (+18.70%) – United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  4. $12,100,000,000 (+13.10%) – Department of Transportation
  5. $481,400,000,000 (+12.10%) – United States Department of Defense
  6. $51,800,000,000 (+9.70%) – Other On-budget Discretionary Spending
  7. $261,000,000,000 (+9.20%) – Net interest on debt:
  8. $34,300,000,000 (+7.20%) – Department of Homeland Security
  9. $17,300,000,000 (+6.80%) – National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  10. $24,300,000,000 (+6.60%) – Energy
  11. $12,100,000,000 (+6.10%) – Department of Treasury
  12. $209,000,000,000 (+5.60%) – Medicaid and SCHIP
  13. $386,000,000,000 (+5.20%) – Medicare
  14. $608,000,000,000 (+4.50%) – Social Security
  15. $20,200,000,000 (+4.10%) – Administration of justice
  16. $39,000,000,000 (no data) – Other Off-budget Discretionary Spending

Sorted by percent change in budget, here are the 2008 budget losers (whose budgets decreased):

  1. $20,200,000,000 (+3.10%) – Department of Agriculture
  2. $10,600,000,000 (+2.90%) – United States Department of the Interior
  3. $324,000,000,000 (+1.80%) – Unemployment/Welfare/Other mandatory spending
  4. $35,200,000,000 (+1.40%) – Housing and Urban Development
  5. $69,300,000,000 (+0.30%) – Health and Human Services
  6. $56,000,000,000 (0.00%) – United States Department of Education
  7. $10,600,000,000 (-9.40%) – United States Department of Labor

The winners: war, terror, interest on the national debt.

The losers: welfare, housing, education.

The current US population is about 300,000,000. The 2008 “Global War on Terror” budget is $145,200,000,000. That’s $484 for every man, woman, and child in America. Add the DOD budget and the Department of “Homeland Security” budgets to that and the total balloons to $2203 for every man, woman, and child in America.

Imagine what an individual could do with $2203. A family. A community. A state. A nation.

The only solution is to spend more, not less, on education. Educated people should make better decisions about our country’s future. Stop the madness.

4 Replies to “* The FUD of Security vs. Liberty and US Budget Winners and Losers”

  1. Regarding our freedoms, did you hear about this incident? A Japanese tourist was arrested and pulled off an Amtrak train in the name of “national security”, simply for taking photos of the scenery. Benjamin Franklin was sooooo right…

  2. We live in a world where someone who plays ball very well can earn millions per year.

    What would it be like to live in a world where a teacher can make more than a ball player?

    What’s more important to us: ball games or our children?

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