Why doesn't the government consider reducing spending on non-essential programs?

Rather than cutting social security and even military pay?? I understand that they give people jobs, but cutting back some funding couldn’t hurt. Like the space program, for example. Do we really NEED to explore space when we can’t even take care of our own people here on earth? Priorities are backwards. We give so much aid to other countries for the sake of diplomacy and our image, and we can’t even feed our own.

I already know the answer. Greed. Just wanted to hear opinions.

FYI, I’m new here and an independent.

Sounds good. Now all you have to do is get everybody to agree which programs are non-essential, remembering that a program that seems non-essential to one Congresscritter might be a major issue for another.

By the way, NASA’s budget this year is something like $19 billion dollars. It’s something like 0.6 percent of the annual federal budget.

I’m glad you know the answer, but first I’d like to know what the question is: what is a “non-essential program”? Don’t you need to define that before you can answer the question?

I suppose I should’ve worded it, not essential for the survival of the human species. :slight_smile: The gov’t surely wouldn’t let us go hungry.

By that standard, they’re all non-essential.

(And the government does let some people go hungry.)

As Marley points out, non-essential is in the eye of the beholder. At the moment, the House Appropriations Committee has proposed–and I think passed–a huge funding cut to Legal Services Corporation, which funds legal aid offices nationwide. These offices provide representation to low income clients in a variety of civil legal matters, including domestic violence, child custody, public benefits, consumer issues, etc. The cuts to field offices could be as high as 27.5%, which would almost kill many local programs–meaning even more poor people will be denied representation.

I guess I’m just old school. The pioneer days don’t seem so bad at this point. Less government programs and you fend for yourself.

In other words, the government should let people starve? Didn’t you just say that would be bad?

Have you ever fended for yourself?

I am willing to try.

Mainly because that’s not where the money is. You could define “non-essential” extremely broadly and still not balance the budget without touching entitlements, defense, or revenue.

Not to say it shouldn’t be done - that’s basically where the ~$1 trillion in “agreed upon” cuts are coming from. Stuff that both parties agree can be whittled back, and that aren’t politically toxic to cut.

Two address your two listed programs: NASA has a $19 billion budget and foreign aid is about $50 billion (of which Israel is, I believe, the largest individual recipient - good luck cutting that).

You really need to be more specific here. Do you mean the entire human species, or just the human beings in the United States? Because the U.S. could disappear tomorrow and the species would go on.

That’s rather simplistic. The bottom line is that you can cut some money within a program without eliminating an entire program, and that’s probably what will happen here.

I guess it depends on how you feel about bandits and dysentery. I’m against.

Hm… I guess I would come down as pro-Bandits and anti-Dysentery. But I’m willing to compromise.

AFAIK, that is exactly what they are considering. The trouble is, as others have already pointed out, what is or isn’t considered essential is going to be highly dependent…mostly on who’s ox is getting gored by discontinuing any given program. That’s the trouble with any spending cuts…someone is going to be affected, and if enough people are affected by a given cut then they are going to be unhappy. Unhappy voters aren’t something that politicians really try for, in general.


Isn’t there a way to discern the core programs that this country needed when it was first established and start from there? (Sorry for my lack of eloquence.) Is it because of over population that this would be so difficult to do?

Actually we give about $50 billion in foreign aid each year.

The US federal budget deficit is approximately $1.6 trillion per year. Do the math.


The very fact that you mention the space program when it’s such a small part of the budget and it’s done so much good for scientific research indicates to me that you need to do some more research before voicing opinions.

What people wanted from the government in the 1790s is not a useful guide to how government programs should be funded in 2011. You may have noticed that the U.S. has changed a lot in the last 200 years- and many of the changes are because people decided they wanted the government to do something it wasn’t doing before.

Not that I know of, since this country isn’t the same as the country that existed 200+ years ago, and so it’s needs and the needs of our citizens have changed. For instance, do you really want to cut the military back to a token regular army, with militias and privateers making up the bulk of our military? Do you really want to cute law enforcement back to basically nothing outside of the towns and cities, and even there have it be completely inadequate?

You just can’t fit the US back into the mold that it filled when we were a small sea board nation of 13 states…or even 25 states…or even 40 states.


Maybe my thoughts reflect on a time of mass destruction. Never mind. Can I rescind this thread?