Monday, April 20, 2009

Fiscal Responsibility Hits the White House

As the President is going to order his cabinet to come up with a plan in the next 90 days to save $100 million.

That sounds like a lot, until you notice that CNN describes Obama’s budget request for next year at $3.67 trillion.

Just to tinker with the math a little, one notes that $100 million is 0.01% of a trillion dollars. That’s one-hundredth of one percent. For example, if a family with an income of $45,000 was forced into this kind of draconian thrift, they would have to squeeze $4.50 out of their annual budget. That’s less than some fast food value meals. And if you use the actual $3.67 trillion number, the percentage “cut” drops to .003%., and the corresponding family budget cut would drop to…. $1.23, essentially one cup of non-gussied up coffee.

In short, this doesn’t even qualify as a down payment on fiscal responsibility, even in an era when the likes of Barney Frank were busy defining the concept downwards. No ‘painful decisions’ will have to be made to achieve such a paltry goal.

$100 million trimmed from the federal budget doesn’t even qualify as a gesture. Well, it qualifies as an insulting gesture…

Update: Greg Mankiw adds some perspective to the enormity of the problem.

Update II: Ed Morrissey notes that Obama could save $900 million by just not sending money to Hamas. Seems like a simple, straitght forward idea. Combined with Obama's $100 million in change found under the government's sofa cushions, now we're up to a billion. Multiply that by a thousand or so, and we'll be making progress.