Shaving $100 Million of the Federal Budget, in Proper Perspective

Monday, April 27th, 2009

So yeah, color me unimpressed.

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15 Responses to “Shaving $100 Million of the Federal Budget, in Proper Perspective”

  1. #1 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    He destroyed federal property with those tin snips.
    Send in the partyvan.

  2. #2 |  Andy Craig | 

    Pretty good demonstration- actually cutting the penny up was a nice touch. But I do have to quibble about the idea of “mandatory spending” that “Obama couldn’t cut even if he wanted to”.

    To be fair, the term is in wide use since that’s what the government calls this spending, but there’s nothing “mandatory” about SS/Medicare/Medicaid spending. There’s absolutely nothing stopping the Congress from passing, and the President signing, a law that would cut off all of that tomorrow. All the “mandatory” aspect of the term means is that Congress and the President don’t bother including these programs in the annual budget resolution- that the spending continues under its own separate statutory authorization regardless of whether or not Congress even passes a budget. And so it’s “mandatory” only within the context of the annual budget debate that gets our friends over at Cato so agitated every year, but as my handy-dandy pocket Constitution points out “No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.” Whether the law is the annual budget or the Social Security Act doesn’t really change the fact that the money is spent according to simple statutory law which can be changed at any time through the legislative process.

  3. #3 |  GGrain | 

    always finding something to complain about, Radley

  4. #4 |  Peter | 

    @Andy Craig

    The other big thing in the “mandatory” pile is interest on the debt. While it’s also changeable with statute, refusing to pay the debt would be, to put it lightly, bad.

  5. #5 |  Andy Craig | 


    I dunno, I’ve read some interesting Rothbardian anarcho-capitalist type arguments for why the state’s debt *has* to be refuted. Basically it amounts to “The fiat dollar sucks, can’t be saved, shouldn’t exist in the first place, and besides the only way to pay off the debt is continued tax violence”.

    I can certainly understand the everything-from-first-principles train of thought, but this is one area where I’m perfectly willing to let the gradualists rule the real world, as they always do anyway. Setting aside the monetary issue of bringing the dollar in for a soft landing or hard crash (the latter is clearly where we’re headed now anyway), one idea I’ve always liked is selling off gov’t assets, particularly the vast amounts of Federal land out west, to pay down the debt. Some of our overseas military outposts in particular are sitting on some rather valuable land, particularly in areas that are a good deal more prosperous now than they were when the military first set up shop there decades ago. I’d really like to see someone try to do the number crunching on how much the gov’t could get just from selling off all the surplus crap they’ll have laying around when Ron Paul gets elected or some such scenario.

  6. #6 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Let’s use perspective to look at some of these numbers and the state’s (you many call it Obama’s) desired 100 million budget cuts:

    TARP 800 Million
    2010 Budget 3 Trillion
    National Debt 10 Trillion
    Department Budget cuts 100 million (big news!)

    If $1=1cup=8oz., then 100 million = 800 million ounces or 6,250,000 gallons. So that’s about 10 Olympic sized pools. Or, about 313 backyard pools of 20,000 gallons each.

    So, 100 million is a very big number in itself.

    What if 100 million=1cup?
    TARP = 500 gallons
    2010 Budget = 1,875 gallons
    National debt = 6,250 gallons

    If the 2010 Buget were a 5 gallon bucket of water, that 100 million would be 0.021 ounces as one full cup would be worth 37.5 Billion. Drop in the bucket, indeed! (Alternate snark was going to reference 2girls1cup)

    Let’s go for distance now!
    If the 2010 Budget were a 100 yard football field, that 100 million would be about 1/8th of an inch (about the thickness of three dimes). Each inch would equal 833 million. A long way to go!

    OK, now imagine that $10 Trillion debt number!

  7. #7 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I also wish the video had made the point that this year’s non-discretionary spending was just last year’s discretionary spending.

    Truly, there is no end in sight at any level…so bring on the crash (or will it be slavery instead?).

    3 Trillion! On the way to 6 trillion!

  8. #8 |  anarch | 

    #1: Unless, of course…

  9. #9 |  dave smith | 

    Wait till the moaning and groaning about cutting even that little.

    We’ll find out that every single cent the fed gov’t spends stands between us and the abyss.

  10. #10 |  freedomfan | 

    When I first heard that Obama quote, I actually thought it was a typo and he had meant “100 billion”. 100 million? That’s less than a joke.

    And, frankly Obama statements like this are something that those who still believe the President is a sincere person – above trying to deceive people for political purposes – need to stop ignoring.

  11. #11 |  omar | 

    “Change” you can believe in.

    he he he he. get it?

  12. #12 |  Cynical in CA | 

    I bet the 1/4 penny that he snipped is more valuable for its metallic content than an entire penny is as currency.

  13. #13 |  omar | 

    freedomfan #10 should have more karma than my lame snark. that’s a solid thought.

  14. #14 |  Llewellyn | 

    Aren’t you people forgetting that regardless of how you minimize it it’s still $100 MILLION dollars. That might be a drop in the bucket in the scheme of things – but at least it’s something. Jeezus look for the bad why doncha?

  15. #15 |  Andrew | 

    #14: It’s intellectually dishonest to tout what amounts to a purely symbolic gesture as a sign of exercising fiscal restraint.

    Part of me is convinced that you must be kidding and the people who made the minus votes must not have gotten it. Such is the curse of a text-only medium.