Politics. Everybody’s favorite dirty word. The political system has existed for millennia and its pedigree reigns back to the earliest examples of legible, recorded history.
Statecraft or Stategraft?
Over here in America, it’s election season! Which means that most of us will embark on discussion after discussion until a verdict is reached by the Electoral College. Who’s the right candidate? What does America want? What does America need? Who does America needs to drop from the payroll? Who deserves our tax dollars?
All remain valid questions, and all of these questions are sure to create a wave of brainstorming across the board of human archetypes. The Conservatives, the Democrats, the Socialists, the Anarchists. Regardless of what side of the fence you fall on, each and every one of you most likely have a predetermined answer to all of the above. We all think we can solve the world’s problems, and yet I’m certain that we all know countless people who would strongly disagree with us on any of the aforementioned areas of discussion. We all think we have the answers. Even though our ideas are really just a torrent of semantics that most directly connect to our personal convictions.
While good intention remains at the heart of it all, these discussions rarely end on the terms of agreement. Especially, when they fall into the hands of the professionals, on the world’s stage, battling for super delegates and the American man or woman’s blind approval. It’s common knowledge these days that the cartoonish, choice few are only on that podium because somehow, somewhere, they acquired enough money to buy their way into crowd sourcing an opinion from the internet, television, and other forms of media. All in the hopes that they’re able to conjure up whatever voice they need to up the approval rating.
For quite some time now, the general consensus has been that the system is merely a doom machine that runs on the blood and sweat of the innocent, whose sole purpose is to feed the pockets of the ruling class. Many skeptics like myself, doubt the Political System’s lasting power and efficiency and yet, the gears always mesh together, and wheel keeps on turning. How can such a devious mechanism prevail after all the years of people like you or I doubting it’s necessitation in the modern world?
The unfortunate answer to this question is the hard truth that is, we, as citizens the food we eat are just as guilty as the system in which we show so much distrust. Maybe guilty isn’t the right word, as we all almost need to contribute to survive at this point. Each and every one of us promptly throws our Federal Reserve debt notes to the machine every time we purchase a taxed item from a registered storefront. Every time we follow the rules and register our vehicles, every time we’re late on a credit card payment. Even when we’re donating our life energy in exchange for currency to pay for the things we need, so that we can proceed through day to day existence. We’re helping someone else’s dream come true every time we fill out that w-2 form at the end of every fiscal year and with 350 million taxpayers, it all certainly adds up.
But where is this money going? And more importantly, are We, The People benefiting from the way all of these dollars are distributed? Many speculate that the lofty increase in taxes over the last few decades is a result of welfare leeches, EBT cards and people who are “taking advantage of the system.” In 2015, the government spent 152.8 billion dollars on Insurance, and cash assistance programs such as TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), Medicaid, and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Surprisingly, it is reported that over 50% of recipients are working families who need a little help making ends meet. But this number could easily be influenced by embellishment of the truth on the parts of recipients.
$152 billion may seem like a lot of money because well, it most certainly is. But in reality, the American taxpayer is receiving more reparations from the government than we’ve seen in a very long time, possibly ever. According to the Treasury Department, 47% of taxes collected by the government, were given back to the American people in the form of tax returns, a 5 percent rise since the year 1950. The Treasury department also reports, that in the first three quarters of the fiscal year 2015, the United States government collected $2.4 trillion. Eventually, the total peaked at a total of 3.2 trillion dollars when all was done and over with for the year 2015.
When you account for the percentage of money given back to the taxpayers, (about 1.5 trillion dollars) the government is left with around 1.7 trillion to play around with. Subtract the amount spent on assistance programs (152.8 billion), and you’re left with around 1.5 trillion, a rather large sum which makes the total spent on assistance seem minuscule in comparison.
So that takes care of that, but where does this leave the rest? In 2015, the Federal Government spent a total of $598.5 billion on defense efforts, 300% more than on the wrongfully stigmatized welfare recipients leaving us with an optimistic $900 billion left for the budget. Sure, there’s a nice chunk of change left in the account, but do we really need to be spending over half a trillion dollars on our presence in other countries, let alone continents? Is sending our fresh faced youth over 3000 miles, to blow up people we don’t even know really even a defensive action? I’ll let you decide, but the State seems to think our freedom is over there, and we need to protect it. I couldn’t possibly subscribe to that idea, unless our freedom is only ensured by oil, and opium production, as those seem to be the primary focal points of our protective forces.
What else does our money go towards? Things like Pell Grants, Government Salaries, Scientific and Medical research, transportation systems, such as highway construction and maintenance. Public Education, Benefit programs for Veterans, and Senior Citizens, ultimately, a lot of positive things. I could spend all day breaking down finances, but I simply do not have the information regarding what the exact number of dollars is funneled into the every growing list of liabilities on the Treasury Department’s balance sheet.
I do however; possess the ability to break down the blatant injustice, hidden within the category of Government Employees and their Salaries. The reality of government money is that there are government employees on every level that need their paychecks. Some of them being elected officials who, regardless of present day activity, receive their salaries for the rest of their lives. I do not have the resources to calculate this number but I’d like to think it’s a lot higher than it needs to be, given the circumstances. Especially when you consider the fact that a Federal meat inspector or any other “regular guy govt. worker” does NOT maintain a salary after retirement. Why do these Politicians get to be grandfathered into what is nothing more than a pedestal of entitlement? Why does the system which supposedly supports the people, hold an apparent bias towards Big Brother?
Let this sink in.