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Brinkmanship

One reason I went off grid this past weekend was that I could not stomach all of the government shutdown talk, and all of the self-congratulating of both parties when the deal would inevitably be reached. Ponder this (from various sources):

  • In a little more than a week during the budget talks, which ended up “cutting” $38.5 billion from the deficit, the national debt increased by $54 billion.
  • The government was on the brink of shutting down because of an effort to cut net ¬†spending by $38.5 billion — this is one-twenty-sixth of the amount spending increased in the last 4 years. Meanwhile, it was all smooth sailing between 2007 and 2011 as spending increased $992 billion. Let’s put this in a little more perspective. Remember that the stimulus was sold to us as temporary, so that is obviously a farce. Where are the “Obama Lied” bumper stickers? But better than that, let’s see a glimpse of what else we did with $38.5 billion in the 2009-2010 budget year alone (see Table 3.2):
    • Defense spending increased by $58 billion
    • International affairs spending increased by $13,6 billion; energy spending by $14.2 billion and natural resources and environmental spending increased by $12 billion, for a total of $39.8 billion
    • Ground transportation spending increased by $18.5 billion (33% in one year); and Medicare by $27 billion
    • Elementary education spending increased by $31 billion while higher education spending increased by $23 billion
    • Spending on health care services (outside of Medicare) increased by $38 billion (only 10%)
    • Veterans benefits spending increased by $29 billion and housing assistance by $26 billion
    • “General government” expenses only increased by 33%, including $7.2 billion for administration and $3.5 billion on criminal justice administration …
    • and this in a year when overall spending “only” increased by $203 billion. If I showed the 07-11 increases you’d not believe them.
  • Amidst this budget “crisis” the government threatens to cut spending on programs people favor the most, and totally ignore programs that are more costly and less supported (like agricultural subsidies for billionaires). Name me a single profit making organization that when squeezed will eliminate its most valuable “assets” first?
  • The 2011 budget estimates have the following planned expenditures:
    • Health and Human Services: $934 billion (that’s more than the GDP of all but 15 countries on the planet)
    • Social Security: $789 billion
    • Defense Budget: $721 billion
    • Treasury Department: $594 billion
    • Department of Agriculture: $146 billion
    • Veterans Affairs: $124 billion
    • Department of Labor: $117 billion
    • Department of Education: $94 billion
    • Department of Transportation: $87 billion
    • Office of Personnel Management: $73 billion
    • Civil Defense Programs: $56 billion
    • “Allowances”: $22 billion, growing to $78 billion in 2015 (subscription to the jelly of the month club for whoever knows what the heck that is)
  • By the way, check out the table of budget projections where I got this – you want to take this Administration seriously? The Administration of Green Technology and a Sustainable Future? Current projected spending on the Department of Energy is $44 billion. And to achieve deficit reduction in 2015 they are saying that they will CUT the Energy budget by 38.7% to $27 billion. ¬†In addition, HUD spending is projected to be but by 15%, EPA spending by 23%, Homeland Security by 14%, … I’d remind you that the current “this budget is a national message that you want to starve babies, make children stupid and alienate the working class” ended up cutting about ONE percent of a historically large budget.

Enjoy your morning coffee.

2 Responses to “Brinkmanship”

  1. Harry says:

    How much for the department of labor? Wintercow, given his background, perhaps might explain what they do over there in addition to providing those great statistics. I admit I am ignorant of how they spend all that money. I know that they occupy a lot of DC office space, but if we could get rid of three dozen employees, maybe we could create a nice pied a terre for Bill Clinton right there in the middle of town.

    $118 billion is a good chunk of money. I think a blindfolded Irish Setter could save $11.7 of that.

  2. Harry says:

    OK, I guess your readership is either asleep or content with $117 billion going to the Department of Labor.

    I am comfortable with having $20,000 a year given to the John L. Lewis foundation, but I could live happily without a $117,000,000,000 a year Department of Labor, which if capitalized at that rate of income would dwarf most of Europe. I would love to hear anyone enumerate the beneficial acts, if any, they do, and explain in some detail how it helps whatever favored group they like. Tell me why the entire department should not be eliminated, even if your father might lose his job and never find another.

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