Money, in particular how to spend it, has long been one of the greatest matters of contention between political parties. Democratic views on spending primarily include trying to return to a more disciplined budget. Democrats encourage and support tight budget caps and rules that require the government to pay for new initiatives. They believe that these initiatives can eliminate publicly held debt within 12 years of implementation. They dislike the larger budget cuts often proposed by Republicans, opting for smaller cuts, which they believe to be more sustainable and therefore beneficial to the economy as a whole. Democrats also believe that Republican budget systems directly counteract those of the Democrats, and cause debt, while Democrats work to relieve debt.
Democrats on Budget Discipline
Democrats believe in restoring the budget structure that existed in the 1990s, stating, “we believe in balanced budgets and paying down our national debt, while Republicans continue to put huge burdens on future generations by borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars from foreign nations. We want to restore the budget discipline of the 1990s that helped eliminate deficits and spur record economic growth.”
This disciplined budget, according to Democrats, must be built upon a tax structure that taxes the upper class more heavily and the lower and middle classes less. Democratic plans to cut the deficit include a strategy to “restore commonsense budget rules that this Administration has abandoned, like “Pay-As-You-Go” rules that require the government to pay for new initiatives. We will commit to living within tough budget caps-real and enforceable limits on what the government can spend.”
Democrats on Defense Spending
While the Democratic Party believes in maintaining a strong military, Democratic views on military and defense spending tend to support cuts to the defense budget far more than Republican views do. However, despite their belief in a lower defense budget, Democrats wish to see military pay and benefits increase, stating, “military pay must continue to increase. We need to further reform the military retirement system and improve housing, health care, and childcare benefits to support the competitiveness of military careers during a period of prosperity. While the number of soldiers on food stamps is down by two-thirds over the past decade, it is unacceptable that any member of our armed forces should have to rely on food stamps.”
Democrats state that they do not support short changing the military, but that, “in our current fiscal environment, we must also make tough budgetary decisions across the board — and that includes within the defense budget.” They believe that Republicans wish to overspend on the military, not that they themselves wish to underspend. For this reason, they seek defense budget cuts as a means of budget relief. The Democratic Party believes that a good portion of military spending is outdated, stating, “We will continue to get rid of outdated Cold War-era systems so that we can invest in cutting-edge technologies and maintain a versatile set of capabilities required to execute a wide range of military missions.”
Democratic Views on Foreign Aid Spending
Democratic views on foreign aid include the belief that the United States should provide aid to disadvantaged countries, including raising the budget for foreign aid in order to provide further assistance to these countries and forgiving their debts to the U.S. as necessary. Through these means, they hope to close the gap between rich and poor countries.
Democrats believe that these strategies will not only aid these countries in the short term, but will help them to build infrastructures that will help their economies in the long run, stating, “we should use our influence in multilateral development institutions to not only provide emergency assistance for stabilizing economies and to create social safety nets, including unemployment insurance and health care, but also to give people the skills, education and training they need to compete.”
Democrats on Welfare Spending
One of the greatest concerns the Democratic Party has is how to protect social security so that all Americans who have paid into the system are provided with a “secure, healthy, and dignified retirement.” The increasing life span of the average American has jeopardized this goal, as many people are outliving the money they paid into the system. Democrats have multiple goals on how to resolve this problem and continue social security, stating, “we will ensure that a retirement with dignity is the right and expectation of every single American, starting with pension reform, expanding saving incentives and preventing the privatization of social security.” They would rather see supplements to social security instated than have the system overhauled in a way that they believe is risky.
Democrats on Social Security Spending
Democrats support increasing spending on welfare programs and social security. Democratic views on welfare revolve around a Keynesian approach, meaning that demand dictates economic growth, and the federal government should use its power to spur said demand when necessary. Examples of this approach include: President Lyndon Johnson using the expanded role of government in his Great Society program to institute civil rights reforms for African-Americans and women; the 1964 Voting Rights Act and the 1965 Civil Rights Act outlawing discriminatory voting tactics and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color and gender respectively. President Johnson also created the Medicare Act of 1965, perhaps the signature act of this movement from the Democratic Party. These acts were designed to combat financial inequality in the country. President Johnson in particular launched them as part of a War on Poverty, including legislation to establish food stamps, the creation of the Office of Economic Opportunity (Job Corps, VISTA, Head Start, Legal Services), and various educational initiatives all geared to reducing economic inequality.
Other Spending Categories
According to a study in 2017, the majority of Democrats also believe in increased spending for healthcare, rebuilding highways, bridges, and roads, scientific research, Medicare, and education.
- Democratic Economic Policies Overview – The Balance
- Democratic Party on Foreign Policy – OnTheIssues
- How Democrats and Republicans View Your Retirement – U.S.News
- Democratic Party on Defense – OnTheIssues
- Democratic Party on Budget & Economy – OnTheIssues
- Democratic Views On Military Spending
- Democratic Views on Defense Spending
- Democratic Views on the Federal Budget
- Republican Views on Defense Spending
- Democratic Views on Foreign Aid
- Republican Views on Military Spending
- Republican Views on the Federal Budget
- Democratic Views on The Economy
- Democratic Views on the Military
- Republican Views on National Defense