The purpose of this blog is to get readers to think about the complex (or perhaps simple) issues I write about.

The primary topics will revolve around politics and society as a whole, but a mixture of sports opinion may be thrown in from time to time.

Friday, March 11, 2011

How Democrats "Cut" the Federal Budget: A brain dead math lesson.

This isn't my first post on the budget battle currently being waged on the Hill, so I am writing this assuming you have an understanding that a budget hasn't been passed this year, and the Congress continues passing what are known as Continuing Resolutions, which keep the government funded at whatever the previous year's levels were.

The Republican controlled House of Representatives has passed a budget which entails $61 billion of domestic discretionary, non-defense spending. This is a modest start, considering it is defense spending, as well as the two biggest entitlements we have that need to be subjected to serious cuts.

In any case, $61 billion in cuts is minuscule in the context of how much the government spends every year. The $61 billion amounts to about 1.5 percent of last year's budget, yet Democrats are acting like the cuts will bring an end to civilization.

At best, California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein have labeled the House plan dramatic yet fail to offer no details on how they'd cut spending, other than to say they'd pursue "targeted" cuts. 

So what does "targeted" equate to in the eyes of the Democratically controlled Senate? $10.5 billion (0.28%) in cuts over the rest of the fiscal year. 

To put 0.28 percent in perspective, imagine if you ran a small lawn mowing company in the summers, and your annual budget was $10,000. Democratic cuts to your budget would amount to 28 bucks. Ouch. 

At least Senate Democrats are ahead of the White House, who has proposed around $6 billion in cuts, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is calling for, get this, increased spending levels.

What's more is what these Democrats are labeling as "cuts."

Ever since the Republicans in Congress passed a balanced budget in the mid-1990s for which Bill Clinton always gets all the credit, federal spending has essentially increased a few percentage points each year, and was escalated (sadly) during the Bush Administration.

So what Democrats are labeling as cuts now, are actually just them not taking the annual raise. That'd be like if your workers at your lawn mowing business were complaining that you were hitting their payroll by not investing a few hundred extra dollars over your principle investment.

So if the current logic in Washington, where a reduction in an annual increase is labeled as a budget cut were applied to the private industry, our economy could not function, yet Washington is alive and well.

I'm beginning to think it is impossible for any Democrat to make any sort of responsible cuts to any government program, no matter how big or small.

I mean, what should we realistically be expecting from Democrats who label deficit spending on unemployment benefits as "stimulus" to the economy?

I, and just about everyone who shares my world view argued that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus bill) was a horrible idea, not because we knew it was going to do next to nothing to stimulate the economy, but because it dramatically raised the funding baselines for just about every single area of the federal government.

We are now seeing that Democrats in Washington have added a synonym to the word "temporary." Under the Democrats, "temporary" spending increases (from the stimulus) are now considered to be "sacrosanct" funding.

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