Extraordinarily effective ad, I think — the American Lung Association ad about asthma and the Clean Air Act. The one with the red baby carriage and the sound of a coughing, asthmatic infant. Every time it runs I end up short of breath and reaching for that baby …
7 thoughts on “The red baby carriage”
A very effective ad indeed, Pied. I am a big fan of the EPA. Unfortunately we can’t afford clean air, or an army, or much of anything else until we reform Medicare. That’s the dismal conclusion I came to after a year of reading. Our budget deficit for one year is about $1Trillion dollars because we are paying double for medical care, so no matter how appealing any government function is, like this one, it can only be had by borrowing.
But, if we did reform Medicare, we could afford to fix the air and so many other things too, things like crumbling highways and bridges for example. Frustrating, isn’t it?
Surely you’re not saying Medicare alone is the culprit. We need reforms and cost-cutting and cleaning up in so many areas, one could write a book about it. Sure, reform Medicare, but also reform/streamline/cut Social Security, defense/military, Homeland Security, HHS, etc. It makes no sense to single out a single agency, department, or program. If it’s federal, you know there’s fat in it that can be cut. Heck, start with the fat salaries of our do-nothing Congress.
Of course, Pied, I agree that there are many areas that need trimming, but my central point is that one could trim all, and I do mean all, of the others and if Medicare were left unchanged it wouldn’t be enough. That is what the numbers add up to – it’s that bad, and it’s getting worse as the Boomers age and get less healthy.
Are you including the expenses of foreign wars that the government treats as an off-budget expense? I’ve seen some figures that show defense and military spending, if included, make up as much as 50% of all government spending. Creative accounting is a government specialty. I don’t trust anybody.
I know just what you mean…I go wheezy even thinking about it!
OK, here’s where I’m coming from on the debt/budget. Please go to this link for the budget:
Then, here’s another link to the bar graph, which is below the pie chart of the budget (or, you can just click on the bar graph):
Note: the light yellow is discretionary spending while the peach-colored is mandatory spending. That means the funds are committed by law. The dark blue of course is the money expected to come in, and you can see that it is only a little above the peach-colored mandatory category.
Now, note that the largest single item is Social Security at 19.63% of GDP. While it makes sense to modify that program modestly (unless Perry is elected), I believe that can not be significantly changed. The next item is the one of your concern, Defense at 18.74%. That indeed is large, but nobody in either party has suggested doing away entirely with the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, and defense expenditures are in fact fairly low by historic standards, so I don’t see much opportunity for significant cuts there either. Some hawks are already screaming over the low level of forces available, with N. Korea and Iran looming. (The president’s plan proposes to save $1 Trillion over 10 years by ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which amounts to an average of $100 Billion per year – that will last until the next crisis, IMO.)
Unemployment and welfare are next at 16.13% (those are in “other mandatory”. ImaLibertarian would like to see this one at 0%, but even if Ron Paul is elected, that isn’t going to happen. Throwing 9% of the population under the bus economically would sink the economy right into a major depression.
So that leaves the remaining big two: Medicare and Medicaid at a combined 21%. I picked those as the only hope of balancing the books because, as we have discussed, America pays double what socialized countries pay for comparable medical care. I think you can tell by eye that if you were to cut each of those in half, and cut Defense as the President plans, and the economy improves some, then we at least have a fighting chance at a balanced budget.
Notice that the next largest slice is interest on the national debt at 4.63% – that is increasing as the debt grows – no savings possible there. And the remaining stuff is small potatoes in comparison to the big ones, even though it includes running the whole government and all “discretionary” spending. That is why I say, cutting Medical is indispensable to solving the budget/debt dilemma. QED.
How the pie is actually divided depends a lot on who’s doing the dividing, combining which slices with which, etc. I don’t trust any one source to be accurate because I don’t trust any source to be impartial. There’s no such animal. That said, I think it only logical to make cuts across the board. Not from mandated benefits, but from bloated overhead and administrative costs. Tell every department to cut x%. That way nobody gets to fudge their numbers by saying their costs actually belong to such-and-such department, which doesn’t have to make any cuts. I’ve seen how accountants move their beans from one jar to another to get a desired outcome; I can only imagine the fun government accountants must have. So many beans! So many jars!