Sunday, November 22, 2015

Talk is Cheap


I often see memes on Facebook saying that we shouldn't take in refugees, of any kind, but especially Syrians, until we house and feed our own poor, but especially veterans. I believe we could easily do both. It is all a matter of how we set our priorities.

The budget is essentially divided into three parts: the first is mandatory spending. These are budget items that are set in stone, things like social security. The second is discretionary. This is where Congress can mix and match and cut and increase. The last is interest on the national debt which, like mandatory spending, is unchangeable.

This graph shows how we spend our discretionary income. The dark blue represents military appropriations, by far the largest expense compared to anything else. Do you think we could find a few billion in cuts, particularly in the military, if we want to house homeless veterans and desperate refugees. I expect the answer is yes if we really cared enough but we don't.

GovernmentEducationMedicare & HealthVeterans' BenefitsHousing & CommunityInternational AffairsEnergy & EnvironmentScienceTransportationFood & AgricultureDiscretionary Spending 2015: $1.11 Trillion