President Obama keeps calling for all Americans, both in Congress and in the citizenry, to “tighten their belts” and make “tough decisions” regarding spending. The federal budget is a disaster of generational proportions, and this week we are witnessing the Obama administration’s feeble attempt to “take in” a centimeter of material on the waistline of the fattest pair of trousers ever sewn by our leadership.
Obama proudly rolled out $17 billion worth of budget cuts Thursday as if he deserved extra-credit points for completing the first problem on his math homework. "Some of the cuts…are more painful than others,” President Obama said. But amid the lack of Republican enthusiasm, he was quick to remind us that his cuts still represent “a lot of money," and "these savings, large and small, add up."
His plan may sound great, except when the $17 billion figure is compared to the president's $3.4 trillion budget for 2010. The total cuts amount to a 0.5% reduction. Or in other words, roughly the same puny percentage the Vice President donates to charity.
Senator Judd Gregg, R-N.H., described the trimming travesty like this: "It's as if you took a teaspoon of water out of the bathtub while you left the spigot on at full speed."
I have a few other, and more mathematical, ways of looking at that 0.5%.
Obama’s attempt at budget reduction is like ordering the entire Olive Garden dinner menu, with every appetizer and dessert (about $660), and out of frugality, forgoing the small side of extra marinara for dipping your breadsticks.
It’s like an obese man that previously weighed 400 lbs. going on television to declare proudly that he is now a svelte 398.
It’s like setting up a diet regimen in which the standard 2000 calorie daily intake is trimmed all the way down to 1990 calories.
Enough food – what about business?
The budget cuts are like sending in your real estate agent to negotiate down the price of a house that costs $200,000, and he comes back with a smile on his face and an offer of $199,000 on the table.
Or, just think if Obama wanted to reduce the hefty tuition price tag of his alma mater, Harvard, from $35,000 per year down to a much more reasonable $34,825.
How about the environment?
It’s like reducing the brutal 115 degree Phoenix summer heat down to 114.425 degrees and calling it balmy.
It’s like determining that the 75 mph interstate speed limit is too dangerous, and fighting for legislation to reduce it to 74.625.
Or fossil fuel consumption?
Imagine if Obama really wanted to kick our 8 billion barrel per year oil habit by proposing a plan that consumes only 7.96 billion barrels.
Whatever way we look at it, our federal budget is a farce. It reminds me of the famous “I Love Lucy” episode where Lucy tries to hide a few of the chocolates when an endless supply is flying by on the conveyor belt. President Obama can act like he’s trying to slow the spending, but we all know the chocolates are going to keep coming.
And the Democrats are sure to keep telling us what a great job they are doing.
“The $17 billion a year, I don't think, is a side show," White House budget chief Peter Orszag said. "$17 billion a year is not chump change by anyone's accounting."
True, but we all look like chumps for falling for this type of “change.”