The federal budget is a reflection of our nation's priorities. As the budget debate heats up in Washington, Congress must choose between investing in a safe and economically secure America, or siding with special interests and continuing to spend billions on wasteful programs that military leaders do not even want.
A strangely popular proposal would give companies a temporary tax holiday, letting corporations "repatriate" their money at an extremely low tax rate, thereby encouraging more corporate tax dodging in the future. You'd think that common sense and strong opposition would be enough to kill a bad policy. Not in Washington, D.C., apparently.
Imagine life without running water. Imagine the ordeal of having to find water not only to stay hydrated but also to bathe, clean, and cook. Imagine the challenge of caring for infants, the sick, or the elderly when the tap runs dry. Over the past year, hundreds of thousands of Americans have had to live out this nightmare.
Unfortunately, this year's budget continues the harmful framework imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 of "trading off" defense spending with domestic needs. Once again, increased defense spending has been blindly offered to balance an equal amount of increased investment in job creation and training, education, climate change, and other priorities combined.
We have major infrastructure needs in many sectors in the United States. The potential impact of a failing public health infrastructure should alarm us and drive action. We can't predict when the next outbreak, epidemic, or disaster will occur, but we can guarantee that it will take place. The question is whether we will work to fortify the public health infrastructure now or deal with the consequences later.
President Obama begins his seventh year in office in good position. At this point in his eight-year term, the unemployment rate is a) lower than Reagan's at the same time; b) lower than Romney/Republican targets for the end of 2016 and St. Ronnie's for his entire term; c) Medicare is now solvent at least through 2031; and, d) ~10 million more people are covered by health insurance.