President Obama released his outline for the 2012 fiscal budget a couple days ago, and I have to say I am pretty pleased and disappointed at the same time. I am happy with the proposal to boost funding for education and clean energy along with the proposal for a high speed railroad system connecting major cities across the country. As shocked as you might be, I agree with the Republicans that the cuts proposed aren't big enough to make a real impact. This is however where the agreement ends because the Republicans want to cut funding to Social Security and Medicare while I want to cut the Pentagon's budget.
We are currently fighting two wars in Asia, in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are almost done in Iraq as soon as we pull our last 50,000 troops out of there. Afghanistan is a lost cause since we wasted our resources in Iraq, so we should pull out of there too. We should have learned from the Soviets, British, and Alexander the Great that no one can fight a land war there and win. Along with that, we end the "shadow" wars we're fighting with the use of covert operations. We should also close and sell our military bases in Europe, Japan, and South Korea seeing as we are no longer at war in the those areas and tensions are already high with the North Koreans. We don't need to be the world's police force as we have our own issues to fix here. This will save us the money for upkeep of those facilities and the money we're paying our troops to be there right now. In fact we will make money as we would sell those bases to the governments of the respective countries. If we were to go with the GOP plan of cutting and even eliminating Social Security and Medicare, our economy would get even worse as the elderly would go bankrupt trying to stay alive. The president's proposed cuts are small potatoes and won't really have a negative effect on those programs. Of course Boehner and the GOP are crying foul because they want more so they can reduce the size of government.
Let me digress into a little history lesson for those of you out there that want smaller government. We tried a smaller government at one time, right after we won the Revolutionary War. We were governed by a document called the Articles of Confederation. That document gave virutally all the power to the states and very little to the national government. The national government had to rely on the states to levy taxes on behalf of their behalf, which the states promptly refused. This led to the national government nearly going bankrupt since there was no money to pay back the war debts to France and Spain. On top of that, each states issued their own currency and had their own laws, which conflicted with other states. There were also frequent arguments between states, and the national government had no power to step in and mediate. These problems led the Founding Fathers to convene in 1787 in Philedelphia to draft a new Constitution that would give the national government more power. Thus we have the government we have today. End of history lesson.
The part I love in the budget is the further reforming of the education system, seeing as I am studying to be a teacher. The president wants to essentially throw out the failed program of No Child Left Behind and replace it with a program called Race to the Top, which puts math, science, engineering, and technology at the top so that the U.S. can once again be the leader in innovation. While I will be a history teacher, I'm still in favor of this plan because it also rewards teachers for their hard work. I'm also in favor of high speed rail service across the country, which would free up out interstate highways and take less cars off the road. I would even take it a step further and expand freight rail, like CSX has been advocating, which would take more semis off our highways, once again making them less congested and helping the environment. We have an untapped resource with railroads, and it's time to put it back to use. The high speed rail proposal would a multitude of jobs from the steel mills of Pittsburgh to the GE Transportation train plant here in my town. It would be a definite boost to the economy. Also the president wants to expand wireless highspeed internet to 98% of the country. Again, a brilliant move as it puts more information at the fingertips of more individuals. Many people in the rural communities have limited to no access to internet.
I hope the budget matter can be solved quickly with little change, but we all know that won't happen. Last night it was reported that already over 400 amendments have been attached to the bill, which will slow the process even further. Plus the Republicans will try to make further cuts and take out the expansion of education and the high speed rail proposal. I hope the president doesn't sign the budget if it happens and force a government shut down. This will show how ignorant the Republicans in Congress really are to the issues of today.