Obama vs. Romney: The Budgets

Oh my.

A while back, I found this amazing TL;DR (summary) of Mitt Romney’s tax “plan” on Reddit.  Before anyone says anything, yes, this guy is obviously liberal, but that doesn’t make the facts of the proposal any less salient.  Also, I realize that he has made some edits to the original post, so you may have to scroll down a bit to get to the actual summary.  Anyway, for a comparison of the summary to the actual document, here is a link: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth

I thought that the idea of summarizing what is otherwise a ridiculously long and boring document into something more readable is a great way to help voters understand what exactly the candidates are promising.  So, at the urging of one of my friends, I made my own TL;DR for the Obama budget plan.  Here is the original document, and my summary is after the jump:

*Disclaimer- this is not complete!  Obama’s plan is SIGNIFICANTLY longer, and I’ve covered the issues that appear to be the most important to people (a la Redditor hurrayforzac who covered Romney’s plan).  I am also an amateur at political science, so I strongly urge you to read through these budgets and make your own decisions!  Hopefully this makes it a little easier, though.

Main ideas:

  • Cutting spending on non-essential govt programs, including some that the administration states “will take not only eliminating ineffective and duplicative programs, but also cutting worthy programs that the Administration would otherwise fund were it not for the tight fiscal environment.”
    • Examples: eliminating federal EPA programs (such as clean water and asbestos-removal initiatives) and allowing states to take these over.  The justification is that the programs have been in place so long, the individual states are basically running them anyway.
    • Elimination of spending for indirect expenses in health care and health care training, i.e. covering the cost of tuition during medical students’ in-hospital training, but not compensating the individual hospitals for decreased/slower services due to needing to train the students.
    • Cutting private-sector incentives (like Clean Automotive Technology) and allowing similar govt programs to take over the research (there is a Vehicles Technology program already in place).
    • Cuts to non-clean energies such as coal, fossil energy R&D, and lots of cuts to agriculture since this sector is considered “strong” despite the bad economy.
    • Sadly, cuts to several technology and science programs, but this was considered justified in that many of the goals of these programs had been met.
    • Happily, TONS of cuts to military spending.  This may not sit well w/ a lot of people, but the cuts that are proposed are things such as decreasing the physical size of the military (less soldiers which is inevitable anyway with pulling out of Afghanistan), decreasing training of deputized and armed pilots on commercial aircraft, cutting funding for drones not currently in high production, and crazy experimental weapons.
    • Elimination of funding for the National Drug Intelligence Center (first step toward legalizing recreational drugs!).
    • Cuts to highly-specific federal assistance programs (to be consolidated), which I’m sure my right-leaning readers are excited about.  This includes decreased spending on govt-subsidised housing for the disabled.
    • Govt will no longer take over defaulted student loans.  This will instead be the responsibility of the guaranty agency (Fannie Mae, etc), decreasing fines.
  • The plan also outlines (with many helpful charts) consolidation of several loose and duplicate programs to reduce overall spending.  This includes federal highway programs, immigration departments, higher education funding, and of course healthcare reform.
    • The Federal Highways Program will take 55 individual categories and consolidate into 5 new programs: National Highway (budgeting/upkeep), Safety, Livability (pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly), Research, Technology & Education, and Federal Allocation (emergency relief and special considerations).
    • Integrated Resource Restoration: decommissioning of over 2,000 miles of roads, the restoration or enhancement of 2,750 miles of stream habitat, and 2,800 million board feet of timber sold.
    • Implementation of the First in the World Program (FITW) to create a more competitive education environment and consolidate special ed programs.
    • Decreasing the number of regional offices for the Department of Labor.
    • Streamlining the Department of Homeland Security because it’s a fucking mess.
    • No more staying in school forever to prevent interest from accruing as interest will start to accrue if students don’t complete their program within 150% the allotted time (in other words, if you are in a 4-year program, and it takes you over 6 years, you’re going to start paying interest while still in school).
  • The savings proposed will come from several areas:
    • Focuses on reducing waste by improving use of technology (i.e. less paper used and more electronically formatted forms that will be available through govt websites), and decreasing spending on silly things such as “extraneous promotional items” such as plaques for fancy offices.
    • Program integrity:  making sure people fuck up less often.  This has made it a lot more difficult for people to commit Medicare fraud as the consequences have become more severe (believe me, I’ve had to sit through a HIPAA presentation every year for the last 3 years!).
    • Emphasis on reducing health-care costs by reducing the number of uninsured who get “free” healthcare at the expense of the states.  By implementing “Obamacare” a.k.a. the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, many govt-funded health programs become obsolete and funding is reallocated to cover those who are exempt from the actual “buying” of insurance.

TLDR of my TLDR: Obama’s budget emphasises reducing government waste and increasing savings and has specific plans within it to achieve these goals.


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