In which categories did you make the greatest changes? Why?
There are several areas in which I decided to make significant changes, namely, military and defense spending (10 % cut), Iraq War and Afghanistan operations (10 % cut), and education (10 % increase). Additionally, I decided to decrease expenditures general government administration. In part, these changes were made because they are essential for the reduction of federal deficit. These policies can allow the government to cut the deficit by $34.08 billion per year.
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These cuts will not affect a large proportion of American population. Moreover, increased investment in education and unemployment programs will provide more opportunities to the country’s citizens and ensure that American employees can reach the highest professional standards. I decided not to make any cuts in such categories as transportation, environment protection, and energy spending. These areas are closely related to infrastructure which is crucial for economic life.
What do your proposed changes indicate about your beliefs regarding what the government should do for us?
I made these changes because I believe that that American government should attach more importance to the internal problems of the country rather than its international affairs. This argument is particularly important if we are speaking about military budget and expenses on military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Such expenditures could be explained in Cold War environment but it is not appropriate in the modern globalized world.
In my opinion, the government should focus on such areas as education, regional development, and energy infrastructure. In my opinion, such policy will provide a stimulus to the economy in several ways. First, it may reduce the country’s dependence on energy resources such as oil or gas. Secondly, the government has to make sure that American people have good educational opportunities and career prospects. They are indispensible for economic growth and social mobility (Harrison, 2010, p 111). These are the main tasks of the government as I see them.
Which 3 changes do you feel are the most important? Why?
Overall, I can single out three most importance changes, in particular, the reduction in military budget, the increased expenses on education, and further investment in infrastructure and energy technologies. If these budget changes were carried out, the government would acquire financial capacity to address more urgent problems, for instance, increase availability of commerce or housing loans or provide more funding for training or unemployment programs. These goals can be attained by cutting military budget. As it was mentioned before the government will create more educational opportunities for the country’s citizens. The accomplishment of these objectives will make the society itself for egalitarian. These policies will increase upward social mobility which means that people will be better able to raise their status in the community (Shaefer, 2010).
What are the best things we could do to help reduce the federal deficit?
As I have already said previously, the government has to review its policies related to military expenses. At the given moment it constitutes 20 % of total federal spending (Executive Office of the President of the United States, 2009, p 61). Furthermore, during the last two decades, it has grown by more 100 %. Again, one has to emphasize that the Soviet Union ceased to exist twenty years ago and currently there is no country that can pose similar threat to the United States. This is why I have to insist that military expenses should be cut. Admittedly, this policy will diminish the revenues of many private companies which act as contractors of the US Defense Department; yet, this compromise is still worthwhile since it will improve the welfare of many other citizens.
Apart from that, it is necessary to pay attention to the costs related to general government administration. In 2007, the country spent 17 billion per year and this figure did not decrease since that time (EOP, 2009, p 73). In part, this costliness can be explained by extreme bureaucratization of government apparatus. Thus, one has to identify and eliminate those expenses which are not essential for the functioning of the government.
Overall, what do you consider the most important roles of government as a social institution?
The government has to perform various functions; first, it must act as an arbiter who ensures that the every person adheres to the terms of social contract, in other words, law. This institution must also make sure that members of the society have equal opportunities for achieving economic prosperity and enjoy equal legal status. Secondly, the government can certainly be viewed as a legislator; its task is to assess the terms of social contract and modify them if they do not meet current needs of the community.
Overall, I view government as a tool or mechanism created for the needs of the people. It must not become self-sufficient or separate from them because such self-sufficiency can lead to totalitarian state. This institution must not transform into a passive observer which does not intervene even if the society faces significant challenges.
Executive Office of the President of the United States. (2009) “Budget of the United States: Fiscal Year 2009”. Web.
Harrison B. (2010). Power and Society: An Introduction to the Social Sciences. NY: Cengage Learning.
Schaefer R. (2010), Sociology: A Brief Introduction. NY: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.