I’m in Paris, our American Airlines flight 62 arrived at Roissy Charles De Gaulle at 7:30 this morning, Paris time. Now we’re in our apartment and have our next door neighbor’s WiFi up and running and am reading today’s news. I read that the Senate after a late night debate has passed the GOP budget (52-46).
In just a few words the Republican budget plan would cut spending by 5.1 trillion over 10 years, raise military funding and repeal Obamacare.
Will that happen? I think the general consensus is that military spending will increase but that Obamacare won’t be repealed. In our highly dangerous world neither Democrats nor Republicans can vote to cut military spending and then expect to survive an election themselves. In respect to Obamacare the representatives are probably afraid of it. They probably don’t understand it and they don’t want to risk their own jobs by making a mistake.
But of most interest to me was the statement that the Republican budget would increase defense spending while slashing funds in other areas, in particular education and health care. This doesn’t mean, in spite of appearances, that Republican controlled Congress cares more about guns than education and healthcare. Rather they recognize that increasing military expenditures has given us the world’s best armed forces, so why stop?
And they see that rising expenditures in education and healthcare tell a much different story. For neither do we have the best system. Mediocre is the word most often used to describe them. In my own lifetime I’ve seen them go from good to awful.
So why throw good money after bad? Past failures to improve these systems have made the representatives more cautious. We don’t know what will work, and to slash expenditures when we don’t know what we’re doing may be the right thing to do.
It’s clear that both systems need huge restructurings, and it’s just as clear that the present education and healthcare power brokers are more interested in protecting their power and powerful positions than in delivering more effective educational and healthcare services to the people. Something else is needed, and for that we’ll probably have to wait, and for how long?
The charts below show recent spending in all three areas. It’s interesting that only military spending, the most effective of the three, seems to be going down. And therefore it’s perhaps not unreasonable that the Republicans want to raise it.
1. RECENT DEFENSE SPENDING
2. HEALTHCARE SPENDING FROM 1900 TO 2020
3. EDUCATION SPENDING FROM 1900 TO 2020