Right now, Washington is ablaze as the most volatile topic is being sussed out. I’m talking of course about money. The big Congressional debate is all about balancing the budget and seeing if we can’t keep from going completely bankrupted on the projected date of May 2016. Now, most of the conservatives want to cut all the social programs, and all of the hippies want to cut the military budget. Barrack Obama doesn’t want to cut anything, because, well, he’s out by 2016 no matter what so why would he give a rat’s ass about the country after that. Why is the debate over social programs vs military?
Because they are both optional spending that we’ve convinced ourselves are mandatory.
Entitlement is a fun word to really look at the definition of, and is almost always used wrong. Well, actually scratch that, it is almost always used properly, but in a false statement. Entitlement has the oh so descriptive definition of, “the act of being entitled.” I love it when dictionaries are dumb. So, if “entitled” is the past tense of “entitle,” which in turn is defined as, “to give (a person) the right to do or have something; qualify; allow,” then we have a new definition for entitlement:
The act of being given the right to do or have something
There it is, the belief that being entitled is the same as a mandatory decree that we get what we want. That is what is plaguing the US right now.
Entitlements should never be given as a free pass.
But then, that is the debate. When you have a $1.4 Trillion deficit. That means the US Government spends $1.4 Trillion dollars a year over what it makes. That’d be like me trying to pay $50,000 dollars a year and only making about $46,000. I might be able to float by for a couple of years, live off my credit cards, whatever, but ultimately, I’m strangling myself with debt and am never going to get ahead. The only solution would be for me to cut at least $4,000, and a better long term solution would be more like 6,000, from my spending each year. The United States needs to do the same thing, and they need to do it the same way.
How Congress should analyze the budge:
Balancing your budget and getting yourself out of debt is actually pretty simple once you learn the basics and start following them. It takes a little bit of discipline, and an understanding that you can have everything you need, and even eventually have what you want, but you can’t have it all right now. From there you just figure out what is actually mandatory, what can be cut back on, and what can be cut completely.
It’s easy to figure out what is mandatory, if we don’t pay off China, they will send a giant army over here to collect our debt by breaking all of our collective thumbs. Social Security and Unemployment are also mandatory, since those are both designed to act like a saving’s account where the party drawing is actually only drawing money they put in. That isn’t how it actually works in practice, but it should be.
Everything else, is optional.
We think in the United States that we are entitled to a lot of things just because we happened to be born. This is especially true for people my age and younger. We’re just used to being given whatever we want. We were lucky enough to grow up during a financial boon, and reaped the rewards from that, for the most part. Even the most poverty stricken members of our generation were taken pretty good care of, because we had such an excess in the US that we were able to dramatically increase spending in programs like Food Stamps and Medicaid. Being given it all has led to a generation of Twenty-Somethings with absolutely no sense of responsibility, and worse, no sense of sacrifice.
We are now the largest generation in US History. The Viral Generation has replaced the Boomers, and need to figure it out pretty damn quick that no body should give us anything. Everything we do needs to be earned, and we aren’t entitled to anything. Knowing hat, makes it pretty damn easy to figure out what to cut from our federal budget to make ends meet.
One thing is absolutely certain, there is no reason we should have 12% of our budget going into “Discretionary Spending.” That is just a fancy way of saying, “money that can be spent however we like without reporting it to anyone.” There should never be anything done by our government that we are not 100% aware of.