Budget Cuts

07/17/2012 11:17


Budget Cuts

On April 20th, 2009 Fox News reported that newly elected President Obama had ordered $100 million dollars in Federal Budget cuts.  (see  http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/04/20/obama-orders-million-budget-cuts-worries-confidence-gap/)  According to the article that is equivalent to 402,000 iPods, or 2.16 million barrels of oil, or some 4500 Toyota Prius cars.   The readers of this article, I’m sure, were appropriately impressed.  But let’s take another look.

First … from Wikipedia we get; “A budget (from old French bougette, purse) is a financial plan and a list of all planned expenses and revenues. A budget is not actual money saved … it is only a plan to “hopefully” save.  So a budget cut is not the same as an actual reduction in spending.

Second … For just a moment let’s suppose that there was a real spending cut of $100 million.  The 2010 census reported 308,745,538 people in the U.S … so the savings per individual would equal 32 cents.  I wonder if you ever got notification from the IRS that your tax bill would be reduced by that amount.  No … are you saying your tax bill was the same?  Assumedly that means they spent the money anyway … just (perhaps) on something else.

Let’s look at it another way.  With a total annual budget of $3.6 trillion … a $100 million budget reduction amounts to a staggering .002777%.  To put that into perspective I recently calculated it is 3.5 miles from my home to the local food store (or 18,480 feet).  If I decided I wanted to save gas … in equal proportion to our Federal budget cuts … I would have to walk the last six inches of my trip.  What a sacrifice they have made … I’m in awe, aren’t you?

The next question is what were they planning to cut from the budget.

Veterans Affairs cut $17.8 million by cancelling 26 conferences.  I’m not sure what is discussed at these conferences but at $684,615 each … they sound like fun.  And ask any veteran … they already feel like they are well cared for.

The Department of Agriculture claims they can combine 1500 employees from seven offices into one facility to save $62 million.  In “government speak” the word “combine” means they are reducing staff so un-employment will go up.

The Department of Homeland Security (you know … those nice people that grope your wife and children at the airport) claim they can save $3 million buying office supplies in bulk.  I had no idea those rubber gloves they use cost so much!  Personally I never bought into the fable about the “scary man in the turban” so I think we can cut more corners by eliminating the illegal groping.

The Department of Justice and State Department propose going paperless to save $6.7 million.  If they go paperless we have no paper trail to trace their mis-adventures … and they get a “delete” button.  Hmmmm … does that sound like a good idea?

The Department of Education expects to save $2 million by reducing the number of computers it provides to staff (what … they should provide their own computers?). 

 That’s enough of the snippy remarks.  I think you get the point.  If there was any money “not spent” they never passed any of the savings on to us … the taxpayers … and to me that means there was no reduction of spending because my cost (tax) remained the same.  It also means we are frequently bombarded with rumors of huge savings that, when put into an appropriate perspective, become miniscule compare to what they are really spending.


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