On the spending side, defense programs would be slashed by 9.4 percent, and thousands of nondefense programs — such as corporate welfare and cotton, wheat, corn, oil, railroad and land subsidies — would be slashed.
Other cuts include $150 million for healthy marriage promotion, $124 million for seat belt safety, an annual $99 million incentive to raise teachers' pay, $21 million for prisoner re-entry job searches and $7 million for motorcycle safety, to name a few. Medicare would be trimmed by 2 percent, but Medicaid, Social Security and veterans benefits would be exempt for now. Note that I wrote “exempt for now.” And the unemployment rate, not the frangible political numbers but the real numbers, might rise above 16 percent.
I'm reminded of these words from “Les Miserables,” which now seem apropos:
There was a time when men were kind,
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting.
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting.
There was a time.
Then it all went wrong.
Please address your financial questions to Malcolm Berko, P.O. Box 8303, Largo, FL 33775, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.