Been a while since we had a good theory question floating around in here, so I thought I'd toss this out. Got to thinking on it coming home this afternoon. If it was your government and your budget to structure as you'd please, how would you prioritize your resources for a federal government?
By example, here's mine:
1) Health and Welfare (not that kind of welfare) of the population: I believe ultimately that the primary role of the government is not to legislate but to support its populace. While I'm not a socialist per se (though, I've been called one before), I honestly believe that a civilized and empathetic culture supports its sick and needy. A lot of people, who are much more worried about the green pieces of paper in their pocket than actual people, will disagree and shout about how it's not their responsibility to help others, and they're looking out for number one, and blah blah blah. Honestly, it just goes in one ear and out the other for me.
2) Provide and support infrastructure: #1 doesn't mean I don't want an advanced economy and strong industrialized nation. We need roads, bridges, dams, power plants, airports, water ports, interstates, cities, towns, counties, and so on and so on.
3) Military Defense: Everybody else's number 1 (just wait and see) shows up at number 3 for me. While we certainly need a standing army to defend ourselves against outside aggression, the real world - not the evil exaggerated world you hear about on CNN - doesn't have much need right now for the ludicrous military spending of the US. It's a warlike tradition that my favorite past administrations recognized as stupidly bloated.
4) Education: We're not talking a cultural priority here, because in that context this is #2, but I'm keenly aware that education is as much if not more a state and local issue as a federal one. As I said, on a total expenditure level from all sources this comes in at #2 or tied for #1.
5) Protecting Natural Resources: And, yes part of that goes with using a reasonable perceentage of those resources toward industry, but with a much more eco-friendly bent than is current policy. I've never actualy hugged a tree, nor had a particular inclination for such, but I'm pretty disgusted with the narrow minded current culture that puts greater emphasis on the need for temporary and certainly fleeting wealth at the expense of the safety and concerns of future generations. Seems terribly selfish to me.