Sara S, Alyssa C, Becca H

Posted: June 9, 2011 in Videos

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0zrrz6c4gU

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Julia Z, Dani W, Madeline W, Mike R
Dr. Halla
AP Government, Pd. 3
30 May 2011
Project Paper

Creating a Budget to Meet America’s Needs

America is experiencing a debt crisis. The debt towers at a mind-boggling $14.36 trillion and grows by almost 4 billion daily (Hall). America does not have the financial resources to sustain such spending for much longer, considering that already the debt almost equals the country’s Gross Domestic Product, which stands at 14,660.4 billion (“Current Dollar”).  America needs a revised budget to fit its needs, one that will not send the country spiraling down into bankruptcy.

Thanks to modern medicine, people are living for longer than they did when social security was first designed. Also, all the baby boomers are at the age of retiring, further increasing the number of elderly in the country relying on social security. This has increased the cost of social security to become roughly twenty percent of the current budget (“Policy Basics”). To accommodate for the longevity in the elderly, the age for social security benefits should be moved up to 70 years of age in order to decrease costs. This saves the government money while still keeping the program alive. This is more of a long term policy because those who are reaching the current age of 65 deserve their money when it was promised to them. Social security should also be scaled to save money so that affluent elders, who can rely on their own savings in their old age, get less money than those who have so little money that they rely solely on social security money. This would help the government spread its limited funds to reach more of the elderly without running out of money. One way to encourage the elderly to have more money in their bank accounts is to grant income tax breaks for those who work after the retirement age.

In order to maintain control over the national debt in the future, the debt ceiling should be lowered by 50 billion every ten years as the government annually pays off as much as reasonably possible of the debt. The government should also mandate states to create programs to teach children the basics of finance  in school. Adult programs at local public centers on how to manage their household finances will help people become more responsible consumers, thus improving the country’s economy.

Defense spending is another twenty percent of the budget (“Policy Basics”) and cuts to this portion of the budget will free money for the government to pay off debt. Military research and development could be cut by 10% to save money.  The military could also sell stuff that they are phasing out of operation. They need to check the backgrounds of who they are selling to; however, to make sure that the buyer is not a threat to the country’s security. Programs such as Xe, nuclear defense, and railgun development could also be cut to minimize costs.

Healthcare, consisting of Children’s Health Improvement Program, Medicare and Medicaid, account for the largest portion of the budget and grow in cost annually. To minimize some of the cost of medicare, the age for eligibility should be raised to 70. Aid should also be scaled based on income in order to make the program more manageable. Healthcare should be reformed and streamlined to make spending more efficient within the programs. Medical malpractice reforms would cut the cost of what the government programs pay to individuals on an as-needed basis. These measures are necessary to keep the programs alive without having them consuming the budget.

The federal government spends about three percent of its budget on education (“Policy Basics”). The education system should be streamlined by cutting overhead positions and unnecessary spending. Eliminating charter school would also decrease costs. However, education is an investment in the country’s future and therefore cuts to this area of spending should be avoided.

The Environmental Protection Agency is the federal government’s environmental program. The EPA should be reformed and broken into smaller, more focused sub-programs that tackle individual problems to make the program more efficient and cost effective. A measure to incentivize environmentally friendly actions and methods could be to strengthen environment tax credits and promote ways to make recycled fuel cheaper. This would keep the government from having to spend a lot more money on the environment while still making progress toward a cleaner America.

The money for our budget comes from taxes. Loopholes for corporate statutory tax can be removed to increase the money the government gets from the business sector of America. The government can also pass policies to incentivize small business that will create new job opportunities and provide the government with more income tax revenue.  Income taxes should be reformed to be graduated, with the heaviest taxes going to the richest with incomes over $200,000 per year. Taxes should also tax net worth, including assets along with the traditional property taxes. Cutting the Bush tax cuts will also provide the government with more revenue. All money coming in from these changes would go directly to paying off the debt in order to eliminate it.

The budget includes money set aside for transportation, which deals mostly with America’s infrastructure. To save money, the US should levy a use tax on companies who will be the heaviest users of the proposed roads. In order to create more jobs, the government should sponsor programs to build more ports and revamp dams. Costs of construction can be cut by using prisoners to build the roads. Quality control could be ensured by lessening the prisoner’s sentence based on work.

If America does not change its spending habits, the economic downturn will cause instability all across the country and in the government. Action must be taken before such an economic collapse, or generations of Americans will have to suffer the consequences.

Works Cited

“Current Dollar and ‘Real’ GDP.” U.S. Bureau of Economic Accounts. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 26 May 2011. Web. 5 June 2011. <http://www.bea.gov/​national/​index.htm#gdp&gt;.

Hall, Ed. “U.S. National Debt Clock.” U.S. National Debt Clock. N.p., 2 June 2011. Web. 5 June 2011. <http://www.brillig.com/​debt_clock/&gt;.

“Policy Basics: Where Do Our Federal Tax Dollars Go?” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Matrix Croup International, 15 Apr. 2011. Web. 5 June 2011. <http://www.cbpp.org/​cms/​index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258&gt;


Creating a Budget to Meet America’s Needs

Environmental Reform: Influencing the World while Cutting Expenses

America is most often regarded as the nation that creates the world’s worst influences when it comes to living an environmentally friendly lifestyle. One of the most predominant reasons why this is so is because of the widespread ignorance that spreads like wildfire; we often ask how this can be changed to help prevent not only worldwide pollution but dependence on foreign fuel sources (that may increase the chances of war) and hazardous health problems (that could spike Medicare and Social Security issues through the roof). While currently thought as the petty affair by a majority of Americans plagued by ignorance, solving the environmental problem currently acting as the elephant in the room can not only bring future serenity amongst environmentalists worrisome of the deterioration of our planet (which is beginning to develop an airtight, scientifically proven case that people can no longer ignore) but can also severely cut foreign oil dependence and provide healthier lives for the residents of this nation. The beneficial sides of the argument overwhelmingly supersede the losses, which may be the time it may take towards reaching a more educated public and get people to vote towards a cleaner future of America and the world.

Environmentalists for forty-plus years have been rampant about the disastrous effects our addiction with oil causes, and yet, standards have little changed since then. It is often stressed that in order to be most socially competent on the road, the biggest car with the biggest engine must be driven. While this has been spoon-fed to society as the popular and most socially acceptable way to shop for cars, it is no wonder the money spent on US imported oil is about $489 billion. Money spent on imported oil from OPEC countries runs the nation about $182 billion. While $671 billion may only represent 1.2% of the United States’ debt, this is still a whopping amount of money spent on energy that could be put to good use in other more needed areas, such as investing money to support studies that may provide the world with alternative, eco-friendly energies that may be greater than oil in terms of efficiency and equal or greater in power. While continuing the use of oil has become convenient for us, we can no longer choose to be oblivious to the harsh realities of the immense amount of expenses spent on something intelligent American research can easily replace in a potentially short period of time.

The amount of oil we burn affects our Medicare rates, as well. When people have more health issues as well as more complex ones, Medicare rises in costs. According to Stanford scientist Mark Jacobson, areas with higher levels of CO2 in the local atmosphere have been linked to higher mortality rates in said areas. However, people don’t just collapse and die out of no prior signs of illness. Elderly will tend to portray respiratory issues as well as intolerance of high temperatures. Because of this, Medicare rates rise due to increased hospital attendance of the elderly. Social Security rates have also rise dramatically due to increased oil consumption. When gas prices rise, the overall market tends to stagnate, which is considerably bad news when one regards the 3% growth needed to bounce back from a recession. At the moment, the United States is currently at a 0.3% growth rate due to a combination of a 12.4% Social Security rate as well as the high gas prices mentioned earlier (about $3.761 being the national average price for one regular gallon in June 2011). When these two factors take up a considerable fraction of your money, the American public tends to save rather than spend which in turn slows the economy dramatically. In conclusion, if oil was not a factor and more efficient alternative fuels such as hydrogen and electricity were utilized, we would not only majorly cut the money spent on oil but spark the United States’ economy by being able to create our own energy resources.

However, successfully pointing a different direction for the country to follow cannot happen overnight. Firstly, in order to get people to vote towards a more environmentally friendly future, a different education must be pushed through our growing youth, taking advantage of their undeveloped opinions. Attempts at telling the rest of our aged population may take place but would not be as effective.


Wednesday Night Live

Posted: June 8, 2011 in Videos

Starring Shannon P, Morgan P, Claudia F, Libby D, and Katie H

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PpFobXirIA]


Comparison of Paul Ryan and Obama

  Barack Obama’s Budget Paul Ryan’s Budget
Education “Continues support for a $5,550 maximum Pell Grant award, $819 above the level in 2008, while putting the program on a sustainable fiscal path by eliminating the year-round Pell Grant and the in-school interest subsidy for graduate and professional student loans.” “Return Pell grants to their pre-stimulus levels to curb rising tuition inflation and make sure aid is targeted to the truly needy.”

 

Defense -“ Reinvests $100 billion of expected savings in high-priority areas such as the development or purchase of unmanned intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets; more ships; a new ground combat vehicle; the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite; and the stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.”

-“ Provides $553 billion for the base budget, an increase of $22 billion above the 2010 appropriation. This reflects continued investment in national security priorities such as cybersecurity, satellites, and nuclear security. The Budget also includes a series of management and acquisition reforms that will produce a net of $78 billion in savings through 2016.”

– “DOD- reducing its funding by $78 billion over the next 5 years.  To make this happen there needs to be the elimination of the Marine Corps Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle; reducing four Air Force air operations centers into two and reducing the number of Generals and Admirals by more than 100.”

-“ Provide $692.5 billion for national defense spending in Fiscal Year 2012, an amount that is

consistent withAmerica’s military goals and strategies.”

-“Reduce inefficient spending by $178 billion, following guidance from Defense Secretary Robert

Gates. Reinvest $100 billion of these savings into key combat capabilities, and put the rest

toward deficit reduction.”

Taxes -“ Allow the 2001 and 2003 high income and estate tax cuts to expire.”

-“ On December 17, 2010 the President signed into law the bipartisan Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act which will: prevent a Middle-Class Tax Increase, cut payroll taxes for 150 million workers, provide critical tax credits for families, extend unemployment benefits, spur business investment with 100 percent expensing, extend the research and experimentation tax credit, and continue renewable energy grants.

-“ Reject the President’s call to raise taxes. Instead, keep overall revenue as a share of the

economy at historical averages between 18 and 19 percent, a level compatible with growth, and

– if the spending restraints in this budget are enacted – sufficient to fund government

operations over time.”

Creation of Jobs – “Every $1 billion that we increase in exports supports more than 5,000 jobs.”

–  “In conjunction with the Chinese President’s state visit to Washington in January, President Obama announced deals worth over $45 billion in increased U.S. exports that will support an estimated 235,000 American jobs.”

-“2-year freeze on Federal civilian worker salaries

-Lower taxes to help private business owners, who create jobs for Americans

-“Boost private-sector employment by slowing the explosive growth of the public sector,

achieving a 10 percent reduction over the next three years in the federal workforce through

attrition, coupled with a pay freeze for the next five years and reforms to government workers’

generous benefit packages.”

Agriculture – Provides $35million for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative to bring grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to undeserved communities.

– “Maximizes efficiency and effectiveness of forest restoration efforts to improve forest health and resiliency by combining and streamlining multiple programs.”

– “Invests $6.5 billion in renewable and clean energy to spur the creation of high-value jobs, make America more energy independent, and drive global competitiveness in the sector.”

– “The President’s Budget provides $23.9 billion to support this important mission, a decrease of $3.2 billion.”

– “The Budget includes a decrease in agricultural spending of $2.5 billion over 10 years.”

-“Americacannot be globally competitive if too many of its people are hungry or ill because of lack of access to healthy foods.”

– “The President’s Budget provides $7.9 billion for discretionary nutrition program support.”

 

-“Reflect the economic reality of record-high farm income by restructuring farm programs,

saving taxpayers money and increasing farmer independence.”

-“First, reduce the fixed payments that

go to farmers irrespective of price levels, to reflect that soaring commodity prices are reducing the need for high

levels of farm-income support. Second, reform the open-ended nature of the government’s support for crop

insurance, so that agricultural producers assume the same kind of responsibility for managing risk that other

businesses do.”

Medicare/Medicaid -“Implementing cost-saving components of the ACA that target spending to maximize efficiency and quality per dollar spent, es­pecially in Medicare and Medicaid.”

-“Continues a commitment to strengthen program integrity in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and provides new resources to reach the Administration’s goal of reducing the Medicare fee-for-service error rate in half by 2012.”

-“Addition­ally, it provides $581 million in discretionary pro­gram integrity funding to implement activities to reduce the payment error rate and enhance civil and criminal enforcement for Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP”

-“Save Medicare for current and future generations while making no changes for those in and near retirement. For younger workers, when they reach eligibility, Medicare will provide a Medicare payment and a list of guaranteed coverage options from which recipients can choose a plan that best suits their needs. These future Medicare beneficiaries will be able to choose a plan the same way members of Congress do. Medicare will provide additional assistance for lower-income beneficiaries and those with greater health risk”

-“Ensure the cost of frivolous litigation is not passed on to consumers in the form of higher health-care premiums by capping non-economic damages in medical liability lawsuits”

-“Stop the raid on the Medicare trust fund that was going to be used to pay for the new health care law. Any current-law Medicare savings must go to Medicare, not financing the creation of new open-ended health-care entitlements”

-“Fix the Medicare physician payment formula for the next ten years so that Medicare beneficiaries continue to have access to health care”

-“Force policymakers to come to the table and enact common-sense reforms to keep the program solvent for current beneficiaries and make it stronger for future generations. Social Security must be reformed to prevent severe cuts in future benefits”

-“Set in motion the process of reforming Social Security by establishing a requirement that in the event that the Social Security program is not sustainable, the President, n conjunction with the Board of Trustees, must submit a plan for restoring balance to the fund. The budget then requires congressional leaders in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to put forward their best ideas as well.”

-“Move the conservation to solutions that save Social Security, thus providing the space to forge a bipartisan path forward and ensure that Social Security remains a key part of retirement security for the future”

-“Save $750 billion over ten years, contributing to the long-term stabilization of the federal

government’s fiscal path and encouraging fiscal responsibility at the state level.”

 

 

Maklite’s thoughts on Obama’s proposal

 

Education:

I agree with what Obama has proposed because he is making obtaining a bachelor’s degree more realistic and affordable for every student.

 

Defense:

I think that he is cutting funding to areas that are not necessarily dire if we did not have them.

 

Taxes:

I liked the fact that he signed an act that will prevent the middle classes taxes to increase.

 

Creation of jobs:

I like the fact that Obama is trying to create jobs in many ways, for example exporting.  It is not only beneficial for the creation of jobs, but to the economy of our nation.

 

Agriculture:

Obama is taking steps to try and feed undeserved communities healthy and organic food.  Investment in clean and renewable energy benefits us to live a healthier life, but also creates more jobs.

 

Medicare/Medicaid:

I think that many measures should be taken to prevent people faking an application for Medicaid, and losing money on people who don’t actually need it.

 

 

 

 

Alan’s thoughts on Paul Ryan’s Budget

Education: I do not agree on Paul Ryan’s Budget along the lines of education because he is returning budget on education back to what it was in 2008 while Obama is making the budget on education higher than what it was in 2008. I think education is really important for people in America because we are behind other countries’ educational system

 

Defense: I do, however, agree with Paul Ryan’s Budget on defense, because he supports the increase in defense spending, which is need to keep America safe, and is needed in the two wars being fought.

 

Creation of jobs: I think the creation of jobs is needed, but making public jobs equal to private jobs is not the way because this will sooner or later cause more private business owners more powerful than public officials, since the businesses will have more workers.

 

Agriculture: I disagree with Paul Ryan’s budget along the lines of agriculture because without the government’s help, farmers will produce less and America will have to rely more on imports.

 

Medicare/Medicaid: Unfortunately I also disagree with Paul Ryan’s Medicare/Medicaid solution. This is because I support a change to the Medicare system now, so that we do not need to spend a huge chunk of the budget on something we could spend less on. This is also because the Baby Boom Generation is going to make the situation worse as more people go into retirement. Medicaid I think should be improved to accommodate the changes to Medicare.

 

 


Defense Spending and America’s Federal Budget