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The U.S. Government: Savior of All Mankind—Except Its Own Citizens?


Written By: Brenda (B.K.) Walker

November 2015

"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
'Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!' cries, she
With silent lips. 'Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I light my lamp beside the golden door!'"~Emma Lazarus

Back in the USA News Story: The U.S. Government Savior of All Mankind Except Its Own Citizens?. www.backintheusa.us

You will find these profound words graven on a tablet on which the Statue of Liberty stands. Such deep words—such an important message. A message many believe is the crux by which America was founded—the foundation of our belief system—our justice system—the core of our civil liberties. Yes, indeed, the United States fashions herself as the savior of all mankind—but where do her own people fall in on the list of priorities?

This isn't about immigration; nor is it about party politics. It's about the level of importance this country's politicians place its own citizens in comparison to the needs, wants, desires, and political benefits for themselves and others—within and outside of our borders.

In the earliest of stages, this nation fought against the tyranny of exploitations such as taxation without representation, freedom from oppression—Americans fought for FREEDOM—the freedom to choose and the right to be heard.

Today, the system offers us, under the Constitution, to be heard through our vote for representation—but are our voices truly heard and followed through the actions of our representatives? How long has it been since the process of the Electoral College was reviewed in order to ensure the "voting process" works in the best interest of the people?

Money Talks

Back in the USA News Story: The U.S. Government Savior of All Mankind Except Its Own Citizens? www.backintheusa.us
(Data retrieved from usgovernmentspending.com

(Data retrieved from usgovernmentspending.com)

Countless Americans struggle to keep food on the table, a roof over their heads, and clothes on their backs. Businesses of all sizes struggle to maintain operations, to stay in the black and out of the red, to keep from laying off workers, and to maybe, just maybe, make a little profit—while others seem to flourish with what appears to be little regard for the consequences of outsourcing, laying off, and low wages.

The U.S. government, or should I say the fearless leaders of the U.S. government, seem to make little headway in achieving any of the aforementioned goals of the average American citizen—for their citizens—how our elected officials operate the government, the decisions they make, how they spend our tax dollars—all of this directly affects how we live our lives.

When the American government stays billions upon billions of dollars in debt—when they hold the American people hostage (military paychecks—but not their own, etc.) in order to pass a budget—it simply doesn't boast the confidence level of its citizens.

Where does it all go? Below is a depiction of government spending habits, broken down in 5-year increments (data retrieved from usgovernmentspending.com).

Back in the USA News Story: The U.S. Government Savior of All Mankind Except Its Own Citizens? www.backintheusa.us    Back in the USA News Story: The U.S. Government Savior of All Mankind Except Its Own Citizens? www.backintheusa.us    Back in the USA News Story: The U.S. Government Savior of All Mankind Except Its Own Citizens? www.backintheusa.us    Back in the USA News Story: The U.S. Government Savior of All Mankind Except Its Own Citizens? www.backintheusa.us
2015 data is an estimated prediction

Buying Our Foreign Friends

How much money does the U.S. spend, each year, in foreign aid? Yet, how many Americans go hungry—many of them children—how many homeless are there in this country—many of them children?

A Forbes 2014 article, U.S. Gives Financial Aid to 96% of All Countries—Merrill Matthews, Institute for Policy Innovations, writes “According to the federal government, for fiscal year 2012, 'The United States remained the world's largest bilateral donor, obligating approximately $48.4 billion--$31.2 billion in economic assistance and $17.2 billion in military assistance."

As pointed out in the Forbes article, "[…] But China has the second largest economy in the world—and is a major buyer of U.S. debt. So we borrow money from China in order to give them financial assistance?"

Back in the USA News Story: The U.S. Government Savior of All Mankind Except Its Own Citizens?. www.backintheusa.us

Information retrieved from USAID-Foreign Aid Explorer (figures for 2014 & 2015 not yet documented)

Our political leaders believe in trade agreements with foreign countries—many of which take jobs from Americans—all under the guise that it will bring more work and opportunities to the United States, in the end.

According to the Department of Commerce—United States of America—International Trade Administration, "Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) have proved to be one of the best ways to open up foreign markets to U.S. exporters."

 

In conflict to the International Trade Administration's point of view—August 2015 Trade in Goods and Services data reveals:

  • Deficit: $48.3 Billion
  • Exports: $185.1 Billion
  • Imports: $233.4 Billion

Taking Care of Our Own

There is an old saying that, perhaps, our political leaders should remember…

"Clean off your own doorstep before you start on someone else's"

The concept of providing assistance to individuals in need is hardly new—our founding fathers, in essence, "imported the British Poor Laws." At the height of the Great Depression, it was estimated that nearly a quarter of the labor force was unemployed. The government had to intervene on the behalf of its people:

  • 1935-the Social Security Act was enacted
  • 1939-the Social Security Act was amended to include several other programs, such as Aid to Dependent Children (AFDC) and Unemployment Compensation
  • 1996-the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act was enacted
Back in the USA News Story: The U.S. Government Savior of All Mankind Except Its Own Citizens?. www.backintheusa.us
Per data retrieved from usagovernmentspending.com
  • Beginning of 20th century welfare spending was at .01% of GDP
  • By 1940 welfare spending had increased to 2.1% of GDP
  • By WWII welfare spending decreased to about 1% of GDP (fluctuation continued between 1% and 2% through the 1960s)
  • By the 1980s welfare spending fluctuated between 3% and 4% of GDP
  • In 1996 welfare spending declined from 3.4% of GDP to 2.4% of GDP in 2000
  • 2003 marked an increase in welfare spending to 3.1% of GDP
  • 2007 marked another decline in welfare spending to 2.5% of the GDP
  • 2010 marked a huge increase in welfare spending to 4.75% of GDP
  • The 2015 data is expected to show a decline in welfare spending to 2.66% of the GDP
  • The 2020 data is expected to show a further decline in welfare spending to 2.4% of the GDP

Prior to the 1960s, State and local governments were primarily responsible for welfare programs and spending. It was during the 1960s that the federal government began sharing the cost of welfare programs. Unemployment benefits, housing subsidy, and public assistance are the three main “welfare programs.”

The Government's Relationship with Foreign Nations vs. Its Own People

Perhaps, many would find this old saying to be quite fitting for the times…

"People living in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."

America believes in supporting the desires of other nations that seek to offer a democratic form of government—freedom of choice—freedom from oppression—freedom to vote. We fight in other countries for this belief. But does America have the right to tell other governments how to conduct themselves?

As each year passes, more and more people fear the U.S. government, they view the government as a threat. According to a recent Gallup poll,

"Almost half of Americans, 49%, say the federal government poses 'and immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens,' similar to what was found in previous surveys conducted over the last five years."

Wrap-Up: What’s Next?

Like many, I am proud to be an American. I believe in the basic concept of my government, the laws that govern this country, and the ideals offered by the Constitution of the United States—civil liberties—due process under the law—a government for the people-by the people.

As this country dives into yet another election period, I worry that those things we hold most dear to us will lose more ground. That our elected officials will be drawn more toward the betterment of their own pocketbooks and personal agendas than those needs that best serve the very people who elected them.

I worry that civil liberties will give way to backroom political deals and the American Dream—the Entrepreneurial Spirit—the pride of Made in America manufacturing—the health and wellbeing of American citizens—all will be swallowed up by foreign trade pacts like the TPP.

As we watch and listen to the never ending dialogue and bantering of political candidates, perhaps, this time, we will look beyond what we are fed by the news media—that we will look to their voting records (if they have any), that we will investigate how they have run their companies, and most important—is their message the same message today as it was yesterday or are they just saying what they think we want to hear?

Back in the USA News Story: The U.S. Government Savior of All Mankind Except Its Own Citizens?. www.backintheusa.us
References:
Chantrill, Christopher. "What Is the Total US Government Spending?" Government Spending in United States: Federal State Local for 2016. Accessed November 3, 2015. http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/.
Chantrill, Christopher. "US Government Welfare Spending History with Charts - a Www.usgovernmentspending.com Briefing." US Government Welfare Spending History with Charts - a Www.usgovernmentspending.com Briefing. Accessed November 3, 2015. http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/welfare_spending.
"Electoral College." History.com. 2010. Accessed November 3, 2015. http://www.history.com/topics/electoral-college.
Forbes, Steve. "U.S. Gives Financial Aid to 96% of All Countries." Forbes. October 14, 2014. Accessed November 3, 2015. http://www.forbes.com/sites/othercomments/2014/10/15/u-s-gives-financial-aid-to-96-of-all-countries/.
"Foreign Aid Explorer ." Foreign Aid Explorer. Accessed November 3, 2015. https://explorer.usaid.gov/.
"Foreign Trade." U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services (FT900). Accessed November 3, 2015. http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/Press-Release/current_press_release/index.html.
"Free Trade Agreements." Free Trade Agreements. Accessed November 3, 2015. http://www.trade.gov/fta/.
Newport, Frank. "Half in U.S. Continue to Say Gov't Is an Immediate Threat." Gallup.com. September 21, 2015. Accessed November 3, 2015. http://www.gallup.com/poll/185720/half-continue-say-gov-immediate-threat.aspx.
Shamsian, Jacob. "A New Bill Would Make Sure Congress Doesn't Get Paid in Case of Government Shutdown." Business Insider. September 21, 2015. Accessed November 3, 2015. http://www.businessinsider.com/bill-would-make-sure-congress-wont-get-paid-in-shutdown-government-rick-nolan-2015-9.
"US Welfare System - Help for US Citizens." US Welfare System - Help for US Citizens. Accessed November 3, 2015. http://www.welfareinfo.org/history/.

~~~~~

Other Articles of Interest:

Government Math: The Fiction of the Unemployment Rate

The TPP: Politicians Aren't Ashamed of Taking Our Jobs

Killer Jobs: Americans are Dying to be Employed

How Much Does Government Regulation Cost?

Winners and Losers—The Rich and Poor in America

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