Thursday, February 16, 2012

Talking Molehills Instead of Mountains

Tim from Colorado e-mails with a budget breakdown:

I don’t know if you saw this the other night on Bill O’Reilly’s show. It was presented by John Stossel, and he got the information from the Gainesville Tea Party website.

Let’s say a family has the following financial statement:

Last Year’s Income: $21,700

Last Year’s Expenses: $$38,200

New Debt on Credit Cards: $16,500

Outstanding Balances on All Credit Cards: $142,710

The family reviews this information and decides that their annual expenses must be cut in order to get their financial picture in better shape.

They decide to cut their ANNUAL expenses by...$385. Not $385 per month, not $385 per week; $385 per YEAR. Insane, right? They’ll never achieve financial security. That's only 1% of their expenses.

If you add eight zeroes to each of those figures above, you would have the financial breakdown of our government’s current budget and income. The problem is that people hear the word “trillion” or “billion” and don’t really understand how much money that is comparatively. So when a politician emerges from one of their budget meetings and grandly announces that all is right, that they have figured out a way to save the country because they’re going to slash $38.5 billion dollars in spending, everyone thinks “Wow, that’s a lot of money.” Except that it really isn’t when we look at the total budget; we’re still circling around the drain.

We all need to pay attention to politician's little tricks in the way they phrase their words and call them on it; when they talk about budget cuts, they're actually talking about reducing the amount of a planned increase in spending, and not an actual hard cut to the previous year's budget.

At this point there are no sacred cows in the federal budget. I would bet a dollar to a donut that most federal departments and agencies could find a way to get by with 5% less than they received last year. And then next year we cut another hard 5%, and then step back and see where we're at for the third year.

The liberals in Congress think we can tax our way out of this mess. As many have pointed out, you could confiscate 100% of the income from the upper income-earners in this country and not put a dent in the deficit, let alone operate the country for a year. Federal revenues are finite, the government's ability to spend is not finite.

Forgive me if I remain dubious that anybody in this year's crop of White House candidates is going to do more than tinker on the margins of the federal budget. There are people in leadership positions in this country that know what needs to be done, but they are not running for president, and that's most disappointing. It looks to me as if once again, we're faced with throwing a GOP candidate out there that is a compromise of who we'd really get behind.

That's a sadly accurate, but true evaluation of where we're at.