Friday, January 11, 2019

Fiscal Policy And Life's Demands In USA Under Government Shutdown: A Student's View Point

Life Goes On Irrespectively :

My interest in understanding budgeting processes in USA and the life of an ordinary woman or man on say, Market Street San Francisco CA got piqued following the Dec 2018+ shutdown that is clearly hurting everyone. The hurt manifests emotionally, psychologically, communally, socially and financially.

I remembered a long time ago, of another lifetime, when a Minister of health of a country somewhere decreed that ARVs (medication to suppress HIV) should not be given to People Living With HIV after all, he argued, they brought the virus into their lives due to promiscuity. Bah! He was (Im) ministerial and (dis) honourable! We argued that politics should actually put ego aside and work side by side with her sister public health. It turned out that actually the minister was using this same excuse or platform to embezzle GAVI funds meant for facilitating efforts toward clinical trials and purchases of prevention prophylactics. There were tactics employed to have more of this money diverted to things other than support a robust roll out of HIV prevention in that country. So, up to date People Living With HIV in that country are still suffering disproportionately. Life goes on! You make the connection? No? Okay.

Politicians in high strung places who are supposed to see the pain and gain side of things; the ones we entrusted with our claims so that they are facilitated to turn them into interventions; the ones who know the mantra: " a government for the people, by the people and with the people" so well! These same politicians are ignoring the pains of 800,000 furloughed Federal employees! They are forgetting that job security means income security which also means sustenance. Sustenance means, a person enjoys life, liberty and pursuance of happiness (POL 001).

Guaranteed Long term Incomes (Antideficiency):

Incomes connect people to material  and emotional conditions necessary for life. Okay let me add the qualifier "quality" and it becomes quality life. In an advanced country like USA where to deprive people of means to quality life is something they attribute to Low Developed Countries, in Government Shutdown, we have the ultimate abuse of democracy. He/She who has never had to tell their child they will not have that coveted christmas gift does not know the pain it brings to furloughed parents! Shame! In a democracy like USA, now that there is an appropriations stalemate not even the Money and Finance Enactment, or Title 31 aka Antideficiency Act can rescue them! Which brings me to fiscal policy.

Spending And Stagnation:

Fiscal policy has two sides to it: there is a link between economic growth and income, spending, life’s activities and consumerism; and there is a link between economic stagnation and taxation, inequity and unemployment. These aspects constitute the demand and supply events in markets. When markets thrive, innovation, quality and quantity prevail. It is possible to produce quality goods and services. It is possible to multiply delivery points for these goods and services. What this means is that more people get to be employed as well as consume the products.

I got introduced to Fiscal policy issues during an economics class and later when I was studying about how Germany pulled itself out of hyperinflation both after World War II and following the financial crash of 2008. Fiscal policy matters and how  is significantly linked to national debt, education, social justice, infrastructure, jobs and income, and more. As a student I understand that student loans, grants and all forms of logistical support which enable me stay in college are linked to fiscal policy.

Fiscal policy is the application of measures generating money from the society in form of taxation and government spending to influence economic performance. This can be in form of social services, investing in public works and education-to-jobs programs. The social services we are looking at include: Social Security Administration, Human Services and Health, air traffic and TSA, federal judiciary, national parks, museums, state department, IRS, food inspection and US Postal service to name a few.

Spending To Boost Local Economies: 

Adopting and using fiscal policy mechanisms motivates people to spend their money for goods they want. This has advantages in that it entrenches growth in local economies and eventually the larger one. It empowers people to engage in activities of their communities, society and country as well as many forms of income generating activities which in turn provides knowledge, entertainment, skills and liquidity in their communities. Are you aware that most of the staff at national parks are not available to guide patronesses and patrons?

In an ideal world without shutdown, there are smooth processes leading to identifying needs, cutting taxes, cutting government expenditures, planning for budget allocation and mechanisms for public expenditure to ensure knowledge, goods and services are provided to the citizens. 

I can now fathom the relationship between fiscal policy and say, the recent recall of U.S. troops thought of as a means to cut defense spending. Although, I am wondering if the recall can be held in abeyance because of the shutdown?  President Trump's Tax plans are thought to start the process of bringing “back companies – from great American brands to innovative startups – are to America, which had left,” according to  President Trump. This will also mean that many more people will employed or these companies will pay into the Federal Tax Fund and this in turn will help support entitlements such as Food stamps, Medicare and Social Security.

Shutdown And Bedtime Stories:

I now am aware that consumers can mean many kinds of people from the seniors, disabled, employed people who expect salaries and many others. In other words, demanding any form of service makes one a consumer. There are two forms of allowable spending. Discretionary set by Congress each year and entitlements which requires larger amounts of money, dictated by demand for the services.  Fiscal policy is linked to income which is necessary to sustain both discretionary budgets and entitlement spending. This means that there is money available on short and long-term basis. This is what makes it possible to address needs which may come in different magnitude, demand and diversity. Unfortunately, all this remains a bedtime story with Government Shutdown!

Source: Google

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