Saturday, February 18, 2012

Baby, You're a Rich Man

Do we really put our kids first?

If I asked most of you point blank if you cared more about your child's future than the current well-being of other less fortunate Americans, most of you would pick your kids. The rest of you would lie to me, and give me some humanitarian clap trap, just before going out and spending $150 bucks for your family to go see "The Fresh Beat Band" live, knowing full well that money could be used for medicine or food for some poor family.  I certainly do not blame any of you for this behavior (I got my tickets already).  I believe its natural and commendable to put your children first and hope for a bright and secure future for them. 

However, I also believe that many of you passively and unwittingly choose others people's needs of today over your own kids.  When you vote for those who want to increase spending thru increased taxation you have to know that they are taking money from you that could be used help secure your children's future to redistribute it to others.  Further, when you vote for those who want to increase spending thru increased borrowing, you have to know they are taking money from your kids in the form of either huge future taxes or massive austerity.  Why would we choose to put this burden on our children?

"Come on Andy you are exaggerating, I gladly pay taxes to keep my kids safe and free and educated."  Do you?  The fact of the matter is that the U.S. Government spends very little of your tax dollars worrying about your kids:

% of Federal Spending:
1) 20% to Social Security
2) 12% to Medicare
3) 13% to discretionary stuff (pick 'em category - i.e.federal employee salaries)
4) 16% to Other Mandatory Commitments (Federal Worker Retirement, Veteran Affairs, Agriculture Subsides, etc...)
5) 7% to interest on borrowed money

That is almost 70% of the budget that has ZERO to do with your children.  The other 30% spent mainly Defense (23%) and Medicaid (7%) could potentially benefit your kids (though I would argue these have so much waste in them, you are not getting much value for your dollar here).  Let us also remember that we only take in about 70% of what we spend, we borrow the rest with the promise of future taxes to pay them back (our kids taxes).

So to over simplify this thing, you could argue that the current workforce pays for all of the commitments not related to our children, very responsible.  We only ask our children to accept the bill for the things they may benefit from, little things like the national defense and health care.  Thank god our kids are watching out for us, so who's watching out for them?

If you truly care for the well being of your children, you have to stand up for those who are willing to cut spending on all things.  Require government to quit passing off problems to the future so nothing has to be sacrificed today.  Your kids will thank you for it.


Brian Scott said...

Hi Andy, You provide an interesting perspective that our federal government is not focused on our children's well-being. I have a couple points to dispute this claim.
1) I disagree with your breakdown on federal spending allocations. According to this website: and using some of your numbers, if you count Defense (23%), Education (4%), Welfare (12%), Protection (2%), Transportation (3%), and Medicaid (7%) that gives you 51% of the budget that directly benefits the younger generation.
2) And my bigger point is that if you take 90% of the budget, I left out 10% due to waste that can probably be eliminated, I think it all applies to our children’s’ future by providing a framework for everyone to have a safety net and healthcare. Taking care of our aging population allows the mid-lifers to focus on the kids. There are also many government programs that are making sure that the products that we feed our kids are safe (FDA to name the biggest). Government spending can also stimulate innovation for the private sector (future jobs for my kids).
I agree that we, as individuals, should have enough take-home pay to spend on our kids’ future; but I also think we need properly funded federal government to do the things we cannot do alone.

Andrew Blankenship said...

Hey Brian,

Great feedback as always. I certainly will not spend time disputing the spending allocations, there are too many ways to parse that data. But for the moment, lets accept your info that half of the spending directly impacts children.

Virtually all of the spending you described is equally applied to the population of which children under 18 are about 25%. So they are consuming about 12% of all government spends (25% of 50%). They are getting the bill for 30% of total spending. Therefore by your yardstick they are paying 2.5 times more than they are consuming. This is not a good investment in our future.

2) I reject your entire premise here. You are presuming that the children will have a safety net. Social Security and Medicare will NOT be there for our children. Those programs are complete unsustainable by anyone's measure and will go insolvent. So kids are just paying for benefits for older generations.

I am disappointed at the magnitude of things you believe people do NOT have the resolve to do on their own.

I believe that if given the option, most Americans could without any assistance from the government, save for retirement, provide healthcare, educate their children, innovate and pioneer great new industries, and self regulate products. Why not let them do that?

Ultimately, I believe we are mortgaging our children's and our countries future so we can all live a little more comfortably today, and that is a crime.

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