U.S. 2021 budget needs major changes

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The Trump administration unveiled its proposed budget for the government’s 2021 fiscal year (FY), revealing a record-breaking $4.82 trillion spending plan. However, despite the increase from previous years, the plan proposes funding cuts to education, housing and environmental protection areas, while more than half of discretionary spending goes toward military spending. 

The U.S. government estimates $3.863 trillion in revenue in FY 2021, which means the proposed budget will create a deficit of $966 billion. 

With such a large spending plan, there should be plenty of funds to go around. 

However, the proposed budget makes significant cuts to non-military-related expenses, which includes funding for Medicaid, the public service loan forgiveness program, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, foreign aid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, among others.

Meanwhile, the budget includes $2 billion to continue construction on the border wall between the United States and Mexico.

While everything in the budget is important, the priorities are shifting away from programs that support the U.S. population and toward higher military expenses. 

According to Army Technology, the U.S. defense budget is the highest in the entire world, at $717 billion in 2019. The second highest defense budget comes from China at approximately $177 billion in 2019. Every other country’s budget is less than $65 billion.

Why does the United States spend four times more on its defense budget than any other country? More importantly, why does the defense budget continue to rise while other U.S. programs are facing significant budget cuts, including a proposed $3.7 billion (8 percent) cut to foreign aid?

If approved in its current form, the 2021 budget significantly decreases funding for U.S. citizens in need of food stamps and housing assistance. It will also eliminate 26 percent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget and cut 50 environmental programs that were deemed unimportant. 

The FY 2021 U.S. budget was proposed Feb. 5, but there are still several steps before it is approved. If the budget is not approved by Sept. 30, the government may shut down until the proposal is resolved. 

With the U.S. national debt currently at $23 trillion and continuing to skyrocket higher than ever, we cannot continue to ignore these budget proposals and allow presidential administrations to increase spending while cutting major programs without any pushback. 

It is time for people to be aware of what goes into the U.S. budget and what major changes are proposed each year.

It is much more difficult and unlikely for future administrations to increase spending allowances on areas of the budget that have been cut, especially if certain programs — such as the public service loan forgiveness program — disappear completely. Being informed and speaking out about these issues is crucial.

If the U.S. defense budget continues to drastically rise above the world’s defense budgets while causing budget cuts for other areas in need, it will be difficult to reverse the damage to other essential programs that are suffering as a result. 

The military is essential. However, the programs facing cuts in 2021 are essential, too.

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