Loading, Please Wait...
Daily Journal
     June 29, 2021      #80-180 KDJ

Selective spending of government 

By Ron Jackson

There is a silly political debate over federal spending currently going on. President Joe Biden proposed an ambitious spending bill to modernize our country. The president wants to improve our ailing roads and bridges, water systems, ports, airports and a host of other infrastructure at an estimated cost of $2 trillion. He was met with a resounding no. But the idea was not scrapped completely. A bipartisan proposal of less than $2 trillion was introduced and it looks like it may have a chance of succeeding.

Of course, whenever a government spending estimate is given, the American taxpayer has learned to expect the actual spending at minimum will be double. And that any government spending proposal will include a considerable amount of calculated waste. It is just how we do business.

Be it $2 trillion or a few hundred billion dollars less to improve our outdated and crumbling infrastructure, it is amusing that there was such a considerable debate. While we expect our elected officials to exhibit great fiduciary responsibility, that is seldom the result. Like typical individual spending, government spending is selective. We spend on what we value.

If there is one thing the United States government will not hesitate to spend money on, it is war. Regardless of the political party in the White House and both houses of congress, there has never been a war that the American government has been reluctant to spend great amounts of dollars and lives. Rebuilding the innerworkings of our society is cause for great debate. However, the opportunity to destroy lives, our own, our allies and our enemies, foreign governments and their cultures has always been easily funded.

Once the decision has been made to enter into war, the money will be provided. America’s penchant for fighting and funding wars makes up the third-largest part of our national budget’s mandatory and discretionary spending. The United States spends more on its military than the next 10 countries’ defense spending combined. The debate whether to buy bullets or bread is really no debate.

Since 2001, our government has spent more than $8 trillion engaging in a war in the Middle East. And that dollar amount will continue to climb although our participation in those wars is finally coming to an end. The cost of that revenge war is four times the current president’s original infrastructure proposal. Unfortunately, we accept it or we ignore it.

America’s selective spending on war reminds me of another American phenomenon. Some families will spend outlandish amounts of money to throw “get out of jail parties” for members upon release from prison. Or find money for a member’s legal defense. But will not spend that same amount of money on the future education for a different family member. The concept of educational value is never a source of debate. It just doesn’t seem to be worth it.

Without question, the truly fiscal conservatives will want to consider the source of income to support such spending. The bottom line is that the American taxpayer pays for everything. Well, some American taxpayers do. Some more than others. Some not at all.

Whether it is $2 trillion or twice that amount, the citizens of United States deserve to have an updated system of physical and organizational structure to facilitate our quality of life. If we can arbitrarily spend tax dollars to destroy life, governments and cultures, we surely can afford to spend to improve our own.

The president has called his plan “a once-in-a-generation investment in America.” Not only is the president aiming to improve physical structures and systems, his plan portends to improve the economy and he will target corporate entities for an increased contribution over the next 15 years.

Trillions of dollars are going to be spent. I would prefer we spend a little money on the betterment for us for a change. There will always be opportunity to fund destruction.

Ron Jackson can be contacted through
the Daily Journal at​ editors@daily-journal.com

1 of 1