The "Space Force" proposed by the Administration could cost more than $1 billion or more to start up and another $1 billion to run each year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Although details remain few, the Administration has proposed an independent military service within the Department of the Air Force, a new combatant command, and a new agency that would develope and acquire new space systems. According to the CBO, the Department of Defense already has 23,000 positions dedicated to the nation's military space activities, not even including positions supporting intelligence services. The existing space activities include launching, operating, and maintaining satellites that are used for various purposes, such as communicating, observing the weather, and monitoring other countries’ missile launches. The CBO's billion dollar estimates cover only the increased costs of creating the proposed Space Force, and do not include the costs for the existing positions dedicated to space activities. Read the full CBO report here.
Medicaid, an aid program under intense scrutiny now, is a joint federal and state program that provides health coverage to almost 70 million Americans, including children, pregnant women, parents, seniors and individuals with disabilities, according to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Medicaid now accounts for about 10 percent of all federal expenditures, according to an analysis by The Plain Facts.
Medicaid is the single largest source of health coverage in the United States. Medicaid was signed into law in 1965 at the same time as the Medicare program. All states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories have Medicaid programs designed to provide health coverage for low-income people. About 12 percent of all Medicaid payments go to physicians, while about 11 percent is used for prescription drugs.
Although the Federal government establishes certain parameters for all states to follow, each state administers their Medicaid program differently, resulting in variations in Medicaid coverage across the country. Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act provided states the authority to expand Medicaid eligibility to individuals under age 65 in families with incomes below 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.
The federal government paid $36 billion to just one contractor in one year, according to the latest government statistics. That's more than the annual budget of the state of Pennsylvania, the sixth largest state by population in the country. $36 billion is enough to give every person in the United States $110. The top contractor, Lockheed Martin, is a major defense contractor, and was paid more than twice the next biggest contractor. The spending figures were compiled by the Federal Procurement Data System, part of the General Services Administration, for the year 2015. The top 10 contractors identified on the FPDS list, and the amounts paid to those contractors, are as follows:
LOCKHEED MARTIN CORP. $36,259,911,070
THE BOEING COMPANY $16,646,781,379
GENERAL DYNAMICS CORP. $13,632,984,913
RAYTHEON COMPANY $13,114,246,704
NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORP. $10,637,246,770
MCKESSON CORPORATION106 $8,358,491,280
UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORP. $6,792,039,706
L-3 COMMUNICATIONS HOLDINGS INC. $5,450,824,009
BECHTEL GROUP INC. $4,645,069,049
The American Health Care Act, as formally passed by the House of Representatives, still causes up to 23 million Americans to lose health care coverage, according to the score released by the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office. The score of the actual bill passed by the House, H.R. 1628, differs little than the CBO's score for the earlier, failed attempt to replace the Affordable Care Act. The Plain Facts reported on the CBO's preliminary analysis here. According to the revised analysis, in 2018, 14 million more people will be uninsured under H.R. 1628 than under the current Affordable Care Act. The number of uninsured Americans relative to the number projected under current law increases to 19 million in 2020 and 23 million in 2026. Also according to the CBO, under the AHCA, premiums for individual health insurance policies will increase about 20 percent in 2018 and five percent in 2019. However, starting in 2020, premiums for individual polices may start to decline. The CBO also determined that the House bill should reduce the federal deficit by about $1 trillion over the years 2017 through 2026, primarily through reductions in Medicaid spending and from the replacement of the Affordable Care Act subsidies for nongroup health insurance with new tax credits for nongroup health insurance. The accompany chart summarizes the CBO's estimates of the effect on the federal budget. Further, the respected Tax Policy Center estimates that the tax savings generated by the AHCA fall to the richest households, while the bottom 80 percent of households receive almost no relief. In fact, the Tax Policy Center estimates that the top 1 percent of taxpayers with the highest earnings (annual income of over $772,000) get a tax cut of $37,000 per year. The top 0.1 percent of taxpayers by income receive an annual tax cut of over $200,000. These households have an annual income over $3.9 million.
The federal government does not pay low income mothers to have babies. Critics leveled this charge against the former Aid to Families with Dependent Children program ("AFDC"). However, Congress replaced AFDC in 1996, during the Clinton Administration, with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families ("TANF") program. Like ACDF, funding under TANF is distributed to the states, which then determine whether and how to spend the funds. The federal government does not provide assistance directly to those in need. In 2016, the TANF budget totaled approximately $17 billion, or just around .4% of the federal budget. Moreover, TANF is limited; it includes a lifetime limit of five years on the amount of time a family with an adult can receive assistance funded with federal funds. The Congressional Budget Office determined that the TANF program actually has succeeded in reducing cash payments made to those receiving benefits. In 1998, approximately 65 percent of TANF funding occurred in the form of cash assistance; by 2008, that figure had been reduced to only one-third of all benefits. Benefits to help individuals work and earn a living, such as subsidized child care, now make up about one-third of all benefits, and various other incentives make up the remaining one-third. According to the CBO, over the past few years, only about one-quarter of families with income below the poverty threshold have received TANF cash assistance in a typical month. The average monthly benefit was about $400, or roughly one-third of the poverty threshold for a family of two.
You can view President Trump's proposed budget plan here. The budget plan is billed as "A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again." The path this blueprint charts includes cutting funding for the Chemical Safety Board, an independent federal agency investigating chemical accidents to protect workers, the public and the environment, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which consumed 0.012 percent of 2016 federal expenditures. The proposed budget also eliminates funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Also set to lose federal funding is the Legal Services Corporation, an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Legal Services Corporation provides funding to 133 independent non-profit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories. The proposed budget also cuts funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, which only receives $148 million from the government, or .004 percent of federal spending. Almost half of the NEA budget goes to state arts programs. The budget also eliminates the National Endowment for the Humanities, which was established in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson. Another program proposed for elimination is Sea Grant, a 50 year old government program whose mission is to provide research and education programs to coastal communities that lead to the responsible use of the nation’s ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources. Last year, Sea Grant supported coastal communities and over 20,000 jobs.
More Americans believe the Democratic Party does a better job than the Republicans at the environment, health care, education and government spending. According to the respected Pew Research Center, almost 60 percent of Americans believe the Democrats better manage the environment. Additionally, the Democratic Party received better scores than the Republicans in health care, education, foreign policy, immigration and government spending.
The federal government spends less than two-tenths of one percent of its budget on pure science research. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the 2016 federal budget reached approximately $3.9 trillion. Yet, the National Science Foundation's budget totaled only about $7.5 Billion, or .2% of the budget. The National Science Foundation aims "to promote the progress of science," largely by supporting fundamental (basic) research. The National Science Foundation has supported the research of 223 Nobel laureates.
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