Obama will find his campaign promises difficult to fund
January 14, 2009
It has been a little over two months since 2008’s historic presidential election, and Americans have been keeping a close eye on President-elect Barack Obama. With the continuously sinking economy, how will Obama fund everything that he promised during his campaign?
One of Obama’s main platforms included increasing the research and funding for environmental causes. His goal is to create a “greener” America. This would include funding research for new cars, fuel-alternatives, and new energy savers and producers. Another platform Obama has focused on is education. He has planned to invest money in the public school systems from pre-kindergartens to community colleges.
Obama is also seeking an increase in the number of United States ground forces by 65,000 soldiers and 27,000 marines. Funding for training, building of facilities, and purchasing new equipments necessary to this plan would be astronomical.
The federal budget deficit is at a record high, and it is only growing larger. Obama has said that he is committed to finding ways to save in the federal budget. However, Obama’s main campaign promise was that he would bring change to the United States–these changes cost money. Big spending increases will be necessary to cover the programs he promised. Finding ways to pay for these increases will be difficult.
In order for Obama to receive the funding he needs, he must first cut national spending. In this kind of situation, anyone would be stuck. There are few expenses that can be cut without problems.
Nationwide programs, especially benefits such as health care, are politically dangerous to cut. Health care needs improvement, not budget cuts.
A controversial area is the $657 billion budget for the Pentagon. Obama believes that this budget is full of wasteful spending, especially in areas such as weapons systems. He has said that this is a good place to start cutting.
This money, however, is important to the United States military. Cutting the budget on weapons in time of war would be dangerous, especially considering Obama’s lack of national security experience. Until matters calm down overseas, this may not be a smart place to cut.
A combination of domestic programs such as education aid, housing, welfare, farming, and highway construction are all in line to receive cuts. However, Obama’s Democratic allies in Congress have been trying to protect these domestic programs from cuts made by President George W. Bush over his two terms in the White House.
Obama also identified millions in overpayment to wealthy farmers as an area that needs cutting. Programs that educate about abstinence, favored by Republicans, also face a budget cut and a possible termination. However, these millions saved by potential cuts are hardly a drop in the bucket compared to the cuts that must be made in order to accommodate Obama’s new plans.
Social Security cost $658 billion in 2008, but this is yet another dangerous area to cut. Social Security has always been seen as an area that is better to leave alone. Health care for the elderly, Medicare, has also been regarded in a similar manner. Politicians have been reluctant to make cuts on these two programs in recent years.
Many suggest that the only way to cut spending is to meticulously reexamine the budget. Yet the current Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, examined the budget earlier this year only to conclude that the United States needs a $57 billion increase in its budget.
Current economic conditions suggest that Obama will have an exceptionally difficult time finding areas to reduce federal spending. This will bring unimaginable difficulties to Obama in funding his numerous campaign promises.