Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Another Way to Look at the Nation's Budget

This came to me in one of those email "send arounds" that we all get. I like it because it brings the huge figures and the problem down to manageable size.


Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000

Income: $2,170,000,000,000

New debt: $1,650,000,000,000

Amount cut: $ 38,500,000,000 (about 1% of the total budget)

Harry Reid is calling this an "historic amount." The President said it is an "historic deal." John Boehner simply said, "We have come to an agreement."

Let's put this in perspective. It helps to think about these numbers in terms that one can relate to.

Let's remove the nine zeroes from the ends of these numbers and pretend this is a monthly household budget for the fictitious Jones family.

Amount of money the Jones family spent this month: $3,820

Total income for the Jones family this month: $2,170

Amount of new debt added to the credit card this month: $1,650

Outstanding balance on the credit card: $14,271

(This represents our national debt.)

So last night, the Jones sat down at the kitchen table and agreed to cut $38 from their monthly budget, an historic amount.

What is wrong with this picture? Is it no wonder that one cannot live lower in respect than a politician? Most families don't spend 43% more than they make. Why do we let our government do it?


We know that changing the direction of how we handle our national finances is going to cause pain. No politician likes being blamed for causing pain unless he considers his constituents throwaways. There is no case I know when a dire situation is exorcised by short term pain that I am not immensely happy when it is over and on the right track. If a person outside myself is the cause, he is my hero.

But, it takes a man, a true leader, to do that. Who among us stands upright? Who among us commands the respect of all people and considers no one a throwaway?

It is going to take such a man because it is going to require a commitment to our friends and neighbors which we do not ordinarily practice. The government will not be able to take care of all the people - which most of us have known all along. The pain will be especially acute for those who think the government ought to take care of them.

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