Today the NYT printed an article referring to the Social Conservative influence on the republican platform. Among the items was the following:
he Republican platform echoes Mr. Bush and says the cuts must be made permanent. "We believe that good government is based on a system of limited taxes and spending,'' it says. "The taxation system should not be used to redistribute wealth or fund ever-increasing entitlements and social programs.''
The platform describes the current deficit of $445 billion as "unwelcome but manageable,'' and argues that it should be reduced by cutting spending, not limiting tax cuts.
Republicans also called once again for "strengthening Social Security with ownership,'' allowing workers to direct part of their payroll taxes to personal investment accounts. Critics assert that the transition costs of such partial privatization would be huge because tax revenues would be diverted from the Social Security system into the private accounts.
According to the US Budget Office, the debt as a percentage of the GDP is only 3%. This is why talk about it is probably wayy overrated. I'll admit to having been worked up into a frenzy about the debt, but seeing as how last year (2003)reciepts by the government amounted to $1.7 trillion with a GDP of $10.8 trillion, paying down $375 Billion would be easy. In fact the "discretionary budget authority" line item of the budget for 2004, which includes the Homeland Security nondefense budget and "other operations" by itself accounts for more than 2X the deficit.
Furthermore; the Department of Defense saw a "growth in discretionary spending" of $385 billion a 32.8% increase in 5 years. In that same time the Social Security admin has gotten $6.7 billion and the Education department $55.7 billion. The Housing and Urban development department has seen $30.1 billion. Clearly the priorities of the government are clear: Better to be able to blow up as many people as possible ( and have the attitude to match) than spend to educate, house and look after the elderly in the population. Upon closer examination we could ask where the $385 billion goes. Well we know that Lockheed-Martin is a huge contractor with the DOD. Last april they reported:
Lockheed Martin reported a rise of 16 per cent in first quarter net profits on Tuesday and forecast increased full-year sales and earnings. The arms and aerospace manufacturer saw net earnings rise to $291m on sales up 18 per cent at $8.3bn. Earnings per share rose to 65 cents from 55 cents a year before.
The company said its guidance for the full year had been revised upwards with sales now seen at $33.8bn-34.8bn, up from $33.5bn-34.5bn. The forecast earnings per share range was lifted by 10 cents to $2.50-2.60.
The aeronautics division came out top with operating profit up 42 per cent at $206m on higher deliveries and increases in combat aircraft programmes. Electronic systems operating profit rose 10 per cent to $202m with space systems rising 15 per cent to $120m as one contract was completed and US government support for another programme supported profits.
The smaller systems and solutions, and information and technology divisions also recorded healthy profit growth in the quarter.
Back to the platform though. Most Americans haven't a clue about how money works. Furthermore, the use of stocks as a vehicle to create wealth for retirement sounds more like a means for companies to get investor money. To be frank, I don't see the point, when so much money is spent on other things in the budget. In fact I think that if most Americans had a clue as to how much of thier taxes are going to the DOD, they would start to question the lines given to them by politicians. Ultimately though such questions wont be asked and the facts and figures would go over the average citizens head.