All Articles Tagged "government spending"
You may think that there are too many people on food stamps, but the government doesn’t. According to CNNMoney, about 46.4 million people are on the food stamps program also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Although that number is only a bit below January’s record high level, the report states that one in four Americans who are eligible for the program don’t participate, and the government is running an extensive campaign to change that.
“Research has shown that many people — particularly underserved seniors, working poor, and legal immigrants — do not understand the requirements of the program,” said Kevin Concannon, a USDA under secretary.
About two-thirds of the elderly and people just below the poverty line don’t participate in the food stamps program.
To encourage participation, the US Department of Agriculture has spent about $2.5-3 million has been spent on paid radio spots in California, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, New York metro area and Ohio. The ads have run for the past four months.
The recruitment campaign started during the Bush presidency, which raised participation by 63 percent in his eight years. President Obama’s stimulus act made qualifying for the program easier for unemployed adults with no children and increased monthly benefits by nearly 15 percent through 2013.
In 2011, the federal government spent over $75 billion on food stamps, which is about $34.6 billion more than in 2008. The increase has drawn strong criticism from fiscal conservatives and is a subject of contention between Democrats and Republicans.
But proponents view the increase as a necessity, especially for the country’s elderly citizens.
“Millions of low-income seniors struggle to afford life’s necessities like food and medicine,” Stacy Dean, vice president for food assistance policy at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said to CNN Money. “Enrolling in SNAP can help ease that struggle.”
(Washington Post) — Mayor Vincent C. Gray is tapping Suzanne Peck, former chief technology officer for the District and, more recently, Metro, to scrub city government of wasteful spending and to find new non-tax revenues. Gray (D) is calling the effort the “One City Performance Review,” a play on the “One City” campaign slogan that has become the theme and logo of his administration. He said Peck’s task is all about “right-focusing” the government. “In speaking to the public, I’ve stressed that we can’t afford to keep doing business as usual in hopes that our finances will dramatically improve,” Gray said in a statement.
By Charlotte Young
Where is the federal government spending its money? What’s most important in this country: incarcerating or educating its citizens?
In a recently released report, “Misplaced Priorities: Under Educate, Over Educate,” the NAACP brings attention to what they believe is a misuse of government spending in the prison system at the expense of the public school system.
According to Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, two years ago, Pennsylvania took $300 million out its education budget and allocated it to the prison budget. California spends 11 percent on prisons compared to the 7.5 percent spent on public universities. In Connecticut, $400,000 a year is spent to incarcerate one child.
In an interview with NPR, Jealous relays how the US has “five percent of the world’s people and 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.” Furthermore, he added that today in America, a black person is more likely to be incarcerated than a black person during the apartheid in South Africa.
African Americans represent 15 percent of crack users but 85 percent of the people locked up for using crack. This disproportionate percentage compares to the 65 percent of white crack users who only represent 5 percent of the people locked up for using.
High incarceration rates also mean that there are many black mothers behind bars, and without mothers being able to look after their children, the children find themselves in foster care.
“What it means for black kids, kids growing up in the inner city, is that their neighborhoods have been incredibly destabilized,” Jealous told NPR.
Besides speaking out about the disparities in government spending, the NAACP has made strides to address inequality in court charges. Last year in South Carolina, the organization’s efforts completely dissolved the state’s disparity in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine. They were also able to get rid of New York’s Rockefeller drug laws, and are assisting with 18 smart crime bills in Texas.
(Kiplinger) — Almost everyone agrees that the federal deficit is a ticking bomb. But few can agree on how to defuse it. Ideas run the gamut from raising taxes to the wholesale elimination of scores of government programs. Some are contradictory. All are controversial. When you take a look at where the money actually goes, it’s easy to see why it’s hard to balance the budget.
Social Security, the Big Enchilada: Many folks think that Social Security shouldn’t be counted in the federal budget at all, because they contribute to the retirement fund with each paycheck. Actually, though, taxes paid in by today’s workers aren’t socked away for their future retirement, but are used for benefits for today’s retirees — an estimated $760 billion worth of them in fiscal year 2012. What’s more, the so-called trust fund — where payroll taxes not needed for current payouts are stashed — consists of $2.6 trillion in IOUs from the U.S. Treasury. The funds have been borrowed over the past two decades to pay for other federal programs.
President Obama sent Congress a $3.73 trillion dollar budget today that proposes spending cuts and tax increases to tackle the deficits. Obama called said the plan was one of “tough choices and sacrifices.” If passed, the budget would cut the deficits by $1.1 trillion dollars over ten years.
The plan would also add nearly $8 billion to the deficit in 2012 because the savings would be devoted to increased spending in education, clean energy and high-speed rail.
(AJC) — The state collected more than $30 million in fees from Georgians last year for programs designed to clean up landfills, tire dumps and hazardous sites and to improve 911 services. The governor and state lawmakers put less than $2 million of the fee revenue toward those programs. Instead, the money went into the state’s general kitty, where it could be spent on everything from education and prisons to hometown projects, economic development and farm programs.
(Chicago Sun Times) — Lewis A. Jordan, CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority, has a Chicago Police security detail — a fact police had refused to disclose but the CHA confirmed Monday after a Chicago Sun-Times report about the costs of protecting public officials. Personal police protection for Jordan and his predecessors dates to 1999, when then-CEO Phillip Jackson announced and had begun attending community meetings about the agency’s controversial plan to tear down high-rise public-housing buildings and relocate residents.
(The Washington Times) – President Obama says the federal government needs more revenue, while House Minority Leader John A. Boehner says it needs to spend less. One of them could walk out of this year’s congressional elections with a mandate to handle one of the most intractable problems facing the country. Spending has risen since the late 1990s, and revenues dropped after President Bush’s initial tax cuts and two recessions in the last decade, and analysts say the worst is yet to come with the retirement of baby boomers and exploding health care costs.