Public Programs Over the Last Several Years  Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Public Programs

Over the last several years, the total amounts of spending for the federal government has been continually brought to the forefront. This is because of the high trade deficits and national debt is having an impact on how various services are delivered. In the case of Justice Department, they have been facing drastic cuts. The reason why is from officials using the funds they are receiving to provide generous benefits for employees. ("Budget Cuts Should Start with DOJ," 2011)

A good example of this can be seen by looking no further than a DOJ Inspector General's report. They found that there is rampant waste inside the agency (with them spending $16 per muffin for a breakfast gathering and $600 thousand for event planning services). ("Budget Cuts Should Start with DOJ," 2011) These elements are illustrating how these kinds of reports are leading to a reduction in spending and greater oversight. To fully understand what is happening requires focus on: the political / economic / social influences, the interaction with the agency / different levels of government, specific limitations, the strategies that will be utilized to justify these actions, present / future costs and the use of cost control applications. Together, these different elements will provide precise insights as how these cuts are impacting the DOJ and the stakeholders they are working with.

Details on how the change came about and its impact on the resulting the DOJ

The changes in the DOJ are coming because of the lack of control and accountability inside the federal government. This has angered the voters who want some kind of change that will deal with these problems over the long-term. At the same time, the spending levels for the federal government are reaching predetermined caps. Every so often, Congress and the President have to work out some kind of agreement to increase these limits. Otherwise the various agencies will be unable to operate and perform their different functions. For the DOJ, these factors mean that they will face more scrutiny over their spending and there will be severe budget cuts. (Bauman, 2011) (Coburn, 2012, pp. 10 -- 47)

Identify political, economic, social, and cultural influences that caused the change in the budget.

The political factors that are leading to this change, is that both parties must show they are doing something about this issue. The best way that this is accomplished is to have budget cuts inside different federal agencies. This will demonstrate that Congress and the President are trying to reduce wasteful spending along with increase the efficiency of these departments. From an economic point-of-view, Washington is forced to deal with these issues from the continuing amounts of slow growth and lower than expected tax receipts. These factors have caused the nation to experience a deficit (which contributes to the national debt every year). The social and cultural influences are that Americans expect a certain amount of services from the federal government (i.e. Medicare and Social Security). These programs are some of the largest areas of spending. The fact that most Americans want keep them in place and are slow to support reforms is a sign of social / cultural acceptance of these fiscal problems. The combination of these elements is illustrating how they are impacting the U.S. government. All of them together, are contributing to the problem through helping to support the status quo. This is when the levels of the national debt, will become worse by effectively ignoring what is happening. (Coburn, 2012, pp. 10 -- 47)

Identify the interaction among the federal, state, and municipal levels with regard to the DOJ

The impact of the budget cuts at the DOJ will have an effect on states and cities. This is because there are different community crime prevention programs that will receive block grants from the DOJ. In 2011, these cuts resulted in programs such as community policing services and juvenile crimes seeing reductions of $434 million. Over the course of time, this will decrease the interaction between the federal government and these stakeholders. This is when there is a possibility that many cities will see an increase in crime rates by having to make similar cuts to their law enforcement agencies. (Bauman, 2011)

Specify the limits of the DOJ's budget and how they may try to compensate for those limits.

The basic strategy for dealing with various budgetary challenges is to fund those programs that are most critical. Then, reduce assistance to others that are not as vital. When this happens, spending will drop to these areas. However, the states and cities will continue to receive something to keep them going. As they have the responsibility for maintaining and dealing with possible changes.

A good example of this can be seen with comments from Attorney General Eric Holder about the current budget for the DOJ with him saying, "The President's Budget request will provide the department with the resources necessary to continue protecting the American people from terrorism and other urgent threats to our national security. It will enable us to safeguard citizens from violent crime and threats to the most vulnerable among us. And it will strengthen critical efforts to combat financial and mortgage fraud, while recognizing the valuable role of state, local and tribal law enforcement partners in achieving national goals. As in previous years, this budget incorporates department-wide savings and efficiencies while identifying new ways to cut costs without affecting our core missions." ("Department of Justice FY 2013 Budget, " 2012) This is illustrating how the focus of DOJ officials, has spread out the cuts across different areas. Over the course of time, this will ensure continuous funding for these programs and it will minimize any kind of negative consequences.

What strategies might agencies and politicians use to justify increasing or decreasing the budget for the DOJ

The most common strategy that politicians will try to use is scare tactics. This will occur on both sides of the aisle, with Republicans using the wasteful spending to show how the DOJ is out of control. When this happens, there is sense of shock about how this is making the fiscal situation even worse (which requires drastic action). At the same time, there are many people who will claim that any kind of budget cuts will result in the cancelation of various joint task forces. This will allow criminal enterprises to function more effectively, thanks in the part the lack of coordination from these budget cuts. In both cases, scare tactics are being used to show how there will be dire consequences for specific choices. ("Politics and Budget Cuts," 2011)

Calculate present and project future costs.

In FY 2013, the DOJ will be focused on providing continuous amounts of funding for specific areas that are vital for dealing with current and new threats. The below table is showing, the largest amounts of spending from the $27.1 billion budget.

FY 2013 Budget for the DOJ



National Security

$4.1 billion

Financial Aid / Mortgage Fraud

$700 million

Continuing Operations

$31 million

Federal Prisons

$8.6 billion

Federal / State / Tribal Law Enforcement

$2 billion

Grant Programs / Administration

$1 billion

Intellectual Property

$40 million

("Department of Justice FY 2013 Budget," 2012)

These different figures are illustrating how the DOJ will spend the majority of their budget in dealing with areas such as: national security, prisons and assisting other levels of government.

In the future, the DOJ will be seeing a modest increase in select areas. A few of the most notable include: financial aid / mortgage fraud, core federal programs and intellectual property. These increases will range from 1.4% to 4.0%. However, there have been decreases of 1.0% in areas such as grants and law enforcement assistance. The combination of these factors is showing how the cuts are taking place by prioritizing what areas are the most important. While at the same time, it is limiting any kind of impact that any decreases will have on existing programs. ("Funding Highlights," 2012)

List Various Cost Control Applications

During the process of making any kind of budget cuts, is when there are different cost control applications that are being utilized. In the case of the DOJ, they are using several different tools in conjunction with each other to include: establishing new standards for all agencies and providing internal reports detailing these objectives. The way new standards are established is through having all agencies understand that they will have to work with lower amounts of funding for the foreseeable future. This is accomplished by asking each segment to provide specific recommendations on how they can maintain this budget for the current year. Once this takes place, is when these figures are distributed to everyone inside the DOJ (in the form of an internal report). This information is used to create the budget for the department in the new fiscal year. In the past two years, these levels of funding have remained the same ($27.1 billion) after falling from…

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