The Audacity of Budgets

When President Obama introduced his proposed 2012 budget Monday it came with all of the familiar promises of budget cuts. An amazing $1.1 trillion over 10 years. And the usual mantra of the ‘tough choices’ and ‘sacrifices’ we are all going to have to make. Who is we?

With the haunting thought of a $1.5 trillion deficit, an unemployment rate in the 9 – 10% range, and an ever-growing government, I was anxious to learn about these ‘tough choices’ and who it was that was going to make the ‘sacrifices’ required to fix this problem.

Glancing through the $3.73 trillion budget for 2012 I was hoping to find these ‘cuts’ he was referring too. I didn’t find them. So I looked a little harder. To be fair, there are a few. But they are what I would refer to as ‘chump change’ when you are talking about 3.73 trillion bucks. None of those ‘cuts’ are reflected in the bottom line. So are they really cuts? There is some fuzzy math. And there are increases, a lot of them. They were not so hard to find. Looking at the total outlays (using their projections) we find this.

 Total outlays for 2010 are $3.45 trillion.

 2011 – $3.81 trillion. Ten years down the road. 2021 – $5.69 trillion.

 $3.45 trillion – $5.69 trillion = $2.24 trillion increase. That’s fuzzy math.

 Those increases made me feel  a little queazy. Couple that with the unknown cost of recent legislation (Health Care and Financial Reform), and I began to go from queazy to sick. The answer to the question: who. It is you, me, and every other tax paying American.

When you and I are faced with less income we sit down and decide what we can afford and what we have to do without. But this administration, faced with the same choice, operates under the delusion that they can continue to spend. As if the difference can just be made up or doesn’t exist.  When the budget goes up every year that’s called spending, not cutting.

We can no longer afford to ‘kick the can down the road,’ with the promise of cutting a trillion dollars over ten years (which I doubt will never happen anyway). We need to cut this year’s budget by a trillion dollars. Not in 2012, but in 2011. This of course is an unrealistic expectation. So let’s use Obama’s statement (cutting $1.1 trillion over 10 years) to do the math. $1.1 trillion / 10 years = $110 billion per year. Yet the total outlays for 2010 are $3.45 trillion verses the total outlays for 2012 are $3.73 trillion. Maybe he’s referring to the outlays for 2011 verses 2012. Which are $3.8 trillion (2011) vs. $3.7 trillion (2012). So, jack the spending up in 2011 by $300 billion, then, make us all feel better by trimming $100 billion next year. What a plan! We are going the wrong way.

Why is it so hard for these people to understand the words budget and cut?

You would have thought that the outcome of the recent elections would have made this administration realize that we are tired of out of control government spending. But such is not the case. They seem to be as oblivious to what ‘we the people’ want as they are to the reality of necessary budget cuts.

            In the next few articles we will look at some of the sections of this joke of a bill in some detail. The bill affords us the numbers from 2010 and proposed numbers from 2012. Get ready for a surprise or two. Say 5100 new IRS agents to be hired and paid for in the 2012 budget.