By Kieran Green
For many Americans, horse trading, gambits, and sometimes even utter stupidity are par for the course when it comes to the realm of politics. But there comes a time where every so often, there comes a crisis which galls even the most cynical of citizens within these United States.
The current debate over the budget is merely the latest in a series of squabbles that seem to be becoming all too common in today’s heated political environment. But, unlike other political disagreements that often seem far off and not very applicable to the lives of students here at City High, the disagreements in the capital (and the results of those disagreements) have a direct effect on the way we live our lives.
If one were to take a quick glance at the attempts at “budgetary reform” within Congress one would be at first confounded. Unlike many other congressional battles, there are no distinct “sides” within the debate. Instead, both the House and Senate exist in a kind of partisan anarchy, with many different factions spouting conflicting organization. But, pulling back this thin veneer of so called “debate” one begins to see the underlying corruption within the system, and the extent to which decisions are controlled by outside forces.To start off with, one need look no further than the military. Despite the fact that America spends at the very least six and a half times more than the next several countries combined on defense, Congress has seen unfit to even consider making cuts in the defense budget. Indeed, Congress has recently begun drafting legislation that would actually increase military funding. The same can be said for Medicare and Social Security, which, combined with the military, compose the vast majority of government spending. All have deeply entrenched lobbies working furiously to prevent any kind of cuts being enacted, and have been extremely successful in that regard. The upshot of all of this is that those cuts get passed down to projects which are oftentimes underfunded, and in many cases, much more valuable to society as a whole. As much as I support the troops, I find it galling that our country is using its funds to finance the continuation of the American Empire at the expense of my education. As much as I’m in favor of caring for our nation’s elderly, I feel that the current systems are out of date and are not in keeping with today’s socioeconomic climate, and is not worth preserving at the expense of ceasing aid to the starving masses of the world. As much I look fondly upon the days of the American past, I think that it is time to face the reality of the future.
Where the rubber meets the road, though, is on the local level. If and when Congress makes cuts in the budget they will invariably be passed down to the state, and then to the local level. It is more than apparent that if cuts are made to area’s like education and public works, their effects will immediately be felt around the community.Our town will decay. Education will most certainly suffer, with less money being available to be put towards helping us, the students. Some of the people we know may lose their jobs. All of these things sacrificed in the name of an America that no longer exists.
In the end, solving the budget crisis should be a rather simple affair. We, as a society, need to come together and decide what capacity government should be allowed to function. Whether that capacity is small or large doesn’t really matter. All that matters is that when we finally come together to make a decision on the budget, we retain both our rationality and our basic humanity. Because without those, what is the point in putting faith in a governing body at all?
For further reading on how budget battles play out in congress, check out the links below-
To see how cuts affect people at the local level, check out the following sites
Finally, if you want to see if you can fix the budget problems yourself, try your hand at this interactive graphic posted by the New York Times