Our government and other governments around the world have made a huge mistake decoupling these. They have been aided by willing lenders, or the sheer ability to print money and pushed by constituencies to spend, spend, spend without raising taxes.
Now, I have to remember that a lot of the good things in my life are due to government spending. My paycheck is partially funded by government spending. My kids went to town-funded schools. I drive on public roads. I receive public water and sewer services. I don't fear foreign invasion or plague or bandits because of protections provided by the government. I have to give credit: my government has provided a safe environment for me.
It's important for me to remember this, because when we start cutting government spending, I'm not going to want to cut things that I depend on for my basic safety. I can forego the new highways and high-speed rail but I want some public entity to make sure the bridges don't collapse.
That brings me to the Ryan budget. I've read that he'll shrink the discretionary spending to 3.75% of GDP from the current level of 12%. This includes military spending, we know the GOP is loathe to cut. This doesn't leave much money for purposes like FEMA, national weather services, FDA, FBI, customs, etc.
It's been hard to figure out whether what the cuts are going to be. According to one analysis (p. 17), Medicaid, SCHIP (children's coverage) and health exchanges support will be cut in half over time. But Ryan's own numbers (p.90) show it dropping just 23% compared to Medicare. The budget outline is also very lean on what discretionary spending is going to cut. It has none of the honesty of Ron Paul's budget where he declares 30% cut to this department and 70% of that department.
So I have no sense that the Ryan budget would preserve the programs I depend on for my safety. That worries me enough, and my health doesn't even depend on Medicaid.
Not enough funding? -- Collapsed bridge in China
Extra: A conservative analysis (possibly libertarian) of the Ryan budget.