Pessimism in Government Spending

By: Zach Dvorak

Today the main topic for our panel was focused on the budget. One area of the government that not many know, besides those book geeks who get excited by the intricacies of policy. Something I am, and most likely will never be.

What I do care about is the central concepts of our economic future. You know, the thing that makes it so I, personally, will be able to get a job and retain said job after graduation. It may seem selfish but my priorities lie with me, and if it makes learning about government spending exciting, I don’t think most people should complain.

For the start of our day once again, just like every day so far, we had two speakers come in. I disliked the first speaker so much I won’t even give him a reference to make sure none of the readers have to deal with what I had to. But the second speaker, Maya MacGuineas, President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, had some interesting practical ways of controlling our spending.

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Maya MacGuineas speaking at The Washington Center. Photo Credit: Alec Wilcox

She brought up the point that there are times to be spending and times to be saving. Simple concepts that our current government seems to think is rocket science, and honestly, it doesn’t make sense to borrow money when it is not necessary. But our elected officials find it too difficult of a subject to bring up.

Also, she is for touching all sides of the government in reducing our spending, which I agree with completely. We should try to focus on fixing the problems we currently have in our programs before trying to create new ones that will only add to the deficit. Although these opinions go against all the things, I have learned on this trip since it is nearly impossible to change programs already in place with bipartisan support.

While that was fantastic to share opinions, it is more important to know our reality (which doesn’t look great). Trump is inheriting the worst fiscal government in our history. That is not a great start for him, but then when looking into his policies, he will only make matters worse. For example, 76% of our debt is owned by the public. Double our history average, and under Trump, that number seems likely to increase. A total disaster is waiting to happen unless some logic jumps in and realizes significant changes are needed.

MacGuineas also brought up one of the more frightening stats I have heard on this trip. Our government, in simplest terms, spends 86% on consumption and only 14% on investment. Meaning we are so focused on short-term issues that all long-term problems are taking a backseat.

News to all young people that is hurting our future at the benefit of the older generations. All these programs put in place that benefit our parents and grandparents likely won’t be around or useless when we are that age. That is why it is important to take a stance on these issues now and focus on reforming our broken government spending.

Even with that, most of these problems don’t even consider the long-term issues most of the world will be fighting.

With the increase in technology and the push to automation. The need for the human workforce will slowly become more obsolete. So, when that time comes, we need to be ready to handle the massive unemployment that will occur. Luckily MacGuineas found the concept of a universal basic income as an almost necessary stepping stone for all developed countries. Providing a base for all humans is the only logical idea for the future issues besides war, and it seems obvious which option is correct.

That was fun to hear from experts in the government spending world, and hopefully, their expertise will make its way to the top of the Trump Administration. Or else America can be heading down a disastrous path.

Side note: I also touched an Emmy today and made my day. Here’s a photo:

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Trying to hold my excitement in at NPR’s Tiny Desk. Photo Cred: Zach Dvorak

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