WHERE OUR TAX DOLLARS GO: President Obama made this proposal. The new budget will not become law for almost a year because Congress must study and approve it before returning it to the president for signing into law. PIE CHART: War Resisters League
WHERE OUR TAX DOLLARS GO: This pie chart is based on President Obama’s budget proposal for the year 2011. The new budget will not become law for almost a year because Congress must study and approve it before returning it to the president for signing into law. PIE CHART: War Resisters League

By OCTAVIA DAVIS

On February 1, President Obama released his budget for next year. He says the new budget will use “common sense” to fix some of the financial problems facing the country. He plans to freeze (stop increases to) many programs here in the United States, while allowing others, like spending for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to increase. He hopes to “invest in our people without leaving them a mountain of debt.”

Every year on April 15, most United States residents pay income taxes. These taxes provide money for such items as highways, healthcare for the elderly, schools, job training and the military. However, taxes and other income do not pay for everything, so the government often borrows money.

Should the government borrow money and go into further debt, or should it have a “balanced budget“? According to Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist, who spoke on the Democracy Now! news program, “(I)t makes perfect sense for us to borrow to create jobs today and to get more tax revenues [money] in the future, and our national debt will actually be lower if we spend more money now.”

Many anti-war organizers, like Ed Hedemann of the War Resisters League, think that the president’s spending priorities should be different. “I don’t think that the government should spend into debt. It doesn’t have to be that way because of all the spending on the military.”