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The Federal Budget Is Unmanageable

With a total planned spending of $3.5 trillion and 535 individuals attempting to influence it the Federal government's budget has become unmanageable. There is so much spending on so many different things that nobody really seems to have control of it. To add to the problem each member of Congress seems to have programs that only they care about and make sure get funded.

This is why you have a situation where the Federal funding that compensates the families of law enforcement personnel killed in the line of duty is cut in half while a government organization is spending money to research the attitudes of homosexuals in Argentina. There are two reasons that you see such spending priorities. First, the budget is big enough that small initiatives are funded without the proper review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), second once a program is established it is hard to cut.

The fund to compensate the surviving families of law enforcement probably was cut in Obama's FY10 budget as it made up a small portion of whatever department that managed it funding. There had to be some cuts made and this program for whatever reason, perhaps it was not spending quickly enough, was chosen to be cut. The medical research in Argentina was probably buried in some other department's funding line at a level not large enough to be reviewed.

All funding is supposed to be tied to a specific document that describes in great detail what the money is to be used for and what program it is part of. The money is supposed to only be spent for what is described. Congress, especially with Defense spending, puts strict limits on moving money around and using it for things not specifically authorized and approprited.

Unfortunately with the growth in the size of the budget over the last fifty years and the pressure on Congress to pass the spending bills in a timely fashion it has become harder and harder to provide the necessary oversight of the totality of the spending. This leads to money being directed via earmarks, or programs that on second look seems silly.

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