Monday, December 3, 2007

Fiscal Year '0X - The Brain Drain

Poor spending seems to be one of the many recurring themes of the Bush Administration, and striking a balance between the departments of Defense and Education is precisely what many critics suggest. But how many Americans actually know where their taxes are going? What exactly is this great disparity that has so severely burdened Bush's budget?

I took the time to peruse through some of our nation's spending habits and found some interesting information. The gap between the cost of war and our investment in knowledge isn't just large, it's unnerving. In 2006, the United States government spent nearly $500 billion in national defense, while only $93.4 billion was invested in education; and that was high. In 2005, $72 billion was spent on education, and the 2007 budget granted the Department of Education only $68 billion. Between 2004 and today, the US has spent over $1.95 trillion on defense. Comparitively, the Department of Education has recieved less than $300 billion.

In all fairness, the Department of Defense is not quite the fattest agency on the books. By year's end, the 2007 budget will encompass expenditures of over $671 billion on health and human services alone, a substantial increase from the $581 billion spent in 2005; impressive figures for a worthy cause. It seems odd, then, that nearly 47 million Americans (16%) were without health insurance in 2005. Odd, too, that this number was about 1.3 million higher than the year before it, despite a $40 billion budget increase.

In 2004, despite a record voter turnout, only 58% of Americans aged 18-24 were registered to vote. In the same category, only 47% actually voted, the lowest category by far. Based on these numbers, it would seem that young Americans are uncaring, uneducated, or otherwised discouraged from taking part in arguably the most important aspect of American Government.

What does all this mean? My guess is as good as anyone's, but it seems that the correlation between the ignorance of politics in American schools and an ailing education budget may be more than coincidental. If anything will help politicians desperately cling to a conservative platform, a collective brain drain will do it.

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Nick Woll grew up in the Florida Keys, and is furthering himself in the fields of writing, software development, and web design. You can contact him at nwoll27 at gmail dot com.