SVAC Hearing Testimony — United States Senate Committee on Veteran’s Affairs. Hearings on Persian Gulf War Illnesses.
The House of Representatives—The House of Representatives contains 435 members, who each serve two-year terms. The number of Representatives from each state is based on the state’s population. Those states with larger populations have more power in the House.
House Democratic Leadership–The History Guy’s page detailing the Democratic leaders in the House.House Republican Leadership–The History Guy’s page detailing the Republican leaders in the House.
Justices of the Supreme Court —This non-governmental website lets you examine the men and women who serve on America’s highest court. Supreme Court Justices serve for life. Supreme Court Decisions (by topic) —Use this site to look up decisions by the High Court by topics. (i.e. gun control, abortion, student rights, etc.)
The Budget Game A simulated budget cutting game from the University of California at Berkeley. This is a non-government site.
Dept. of Veterans Affairs Gulf War Fact Sheet —Includes information on Programs available for Gulf War Veterans. Gulf War Veteran’s Homepage —Dept. of Veterans Affairs web page on Gulf War Vets.
How the Government Creates a Budget
The government needs money to run, just like any corporation or organization, and they get that money in a few different ways. It is crucial that all of this works out appropriately, both so that things can go smoothly and so that the people who are in office are in good standing with the public when an election comes up. For instance, if the government creates a lot of debt, people are going to generally frown up on this and they may vote for someone else. The debt could also hold the country back by ruining its overall credit rating, which countries have just like citizens. This is why governments employ professional consultants like Mark Weinberger to make sure that things go according the plan.
The first step in creating a new budget is simply gathering tax money. For the most part, the government does this all year around, docking the money from the paychecks of people who have traditional jobs. However, these people can often get a return at the end of the year, so the government still has to figure out how much money it was supposed to get and craft a budget that is based around those numbers, rather than what was really taken in, or it will not be able to pay off all of those returns.
One other thing to consider with taxes is that some people do not pay them at all until the end of the year. If you are self-employed, for instance, you may get 1099 tax forms instead of W2 forms. You have not had money docked from your paychecks all year long, so you need to have some saved up. When you put in the money that you made, the tax software program is going to tell you that you do not get a return at all, but that you have to make a payment. These payments also factor into the yearly budget.
Now, there is some controversy around this because countries tend to borrow incredible amounts of money that they do not always pay back like they should, but there is no denying that this happens; whether it is good or bad for the country is open to debate, and there are two sides to be seen. Either way, one country will sometimes borrow millions of dollars from another country if there are things that need to be paid for that do not fit within the budget that was created by the taxes.
The final step in the process is just to chart out the spending that is going to take place over the next year. Some of this is based on the cost of programs that repeat themselves. For example, the government provides healthcare and other aid to people who do not have jobs, so they can simply look at how many people have applied for this assistance for the coming year and see how much of the total needs to be allotted for that purpose.
However, some funds have to be kept in reserve for unexpected things that occur. If a country suddenly is drawn into a war, it must be able to mobilize the military quickly. The budget planners make sure that enough money is available for these types of situations.
As you may imagine, diplomacy between the US and the Middle East is very important so that countries on both continents can stay on good terms. For this reason, people like Ambassador Yousef al Otaibawork directly with the US government to help both cultures understand each other and to improve relations between the regions. However, have you ever wondered about some of the major things that play into these diplomatic talks? What types of things are discussed and act as important points when the political advisors are trying to figure out how to move forward into the future in a way that best impacts them both?
1. Trade Relations
First of all, they spend a lot of time talking about trade relations. This could include discussions of taxes being leveled on goods that are moving from one continent to the next. If import taxes are too high, it could cut back on trade because people will not be able to afford the goods. At the same time, the governments need to use import taxes to make money, so they cannot do away with them altogether. They have to work to find a good middle ground where the taxes can help the governments without slowing down trade and negatively impacting the businesses and corporations on both sides.
2. Crude Oil
Another thing that comes up often is the buying and selling of oil. The Middle East is one of the hot spots in the world for crude oil, which is constantly being collected. Sometimes, it is refined there and then shipped to the United States. Other times, it is shipped in its crude form and refined at its destination. The United States has a huge need for this oil since it is used to power automobiles, and the infrastructure of the US is such that most private citizens have at least one car, if not two or three. Prices have to be set, shipping amounts have to be agreed upon, and the like.
3. Military Operations
Of course, military operations have to be discussed. This could include operations in the past, current ones and those that might happen in the future. While the two sides are on good terms, there are other countries around the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that the United States has fought with over the past few decades. This can create tension in the region, and so the ambassadors and other politicians need to discuss what that means for each of them and how best to keep the countries on good terms in the future. These are peaceful negotiations meant to bring understanding and to ensure that both sides are on the same page.
4. The Global Economy
Since both sides are so important to the global economy, such major players in almost all industries, they must also talk about the shift to a global economy that has been happening for the last few decades. Gone are the days when any country could be self-sufficient. Countries now are dependent on each other, and goods and services move from one part of the globe to the next on a daily basis. This is good for everyone involved, but it does take a lot of work to make sure that all countries adapt to the way that things are progressing.
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