When it comes to the budget and government benefit, it depends on how the program you are talking about was designed into the budget. Usually, the programs that have been budgeted for and are locked in are the ones that are usually considered safe. For example, programs like Social Security Debit Card Payments and checks are usually not something politicians like to play with. This is because seniors are generally a very powerful voting block who traditionally vote in large numbers in any election. Politicians know that the moment you begin to toy with something like social security, you are going anger seniors, who are going to come out in force during elections and register their disapproval. In addition, groups like the AARP are a powerful lobbying and advocacy tools at their disposal to immediately get the attention of politicians on the hill. As a result, you don’t see very many successful attempts in Congress to alter social security or medicare programs.
Government Benefits and the Budget Cuts
However, the programs that generally get targeted for budget cuts are the ones that are designed to help the most vulnerable in society. These are like food stamps, WIC Program for Women and Infants, Unemployment Benefits and the likes. The reason these programs are popular with politicians is that the people who receive them are generally defenseless. People on Unemployment do not necessarily have a strong advocacy group like the AARP spending money to lobby and advocate on their behalf. Also, it is easy for politicians to portray people on food stamps and programs like WIC as lazy or people taking advantage of the tax payer. When you are able to cast a federal government benefit program that is paid for by the tax payers as being wasteful spending, you are definitely going to get the attention of many people, who do not like to pay taxes in the first place. Politicians are very good at tapping into that anger to target programs that they don’t want to support, while channeling the money to their pet projects.
Make no mistake, money that is taken from one program is not necessarily returned to the federal treasury. When it is taken from government benefits program, it is usually put elsewhere. Most of the time, it is to make way to fund a favorite or pet project of the politicians involved. That is why it is important to understand the motivation behind the requested cuts in benefits programs. When you dig deep, you will mostly find that the money is needed for something else and since they cannot cut programs that have powerful constituencies or lobbyist, they take from those who have no powerful advocates, and that’s usually programs that are meant to help the poor or vulnerable in society.
The only way this stops is if those affected make their voice heard. When there is a deadlock on a budget, those who scream the loudest are the ones that are heard by Washington. Maybe the next time there is a showdown, those that are impacted negatively can occupy DC until they are heard and their voices and concerns are considered in the negotiations.