The Budget Math Deficit


The White House once promised to answer any petition posted at its .gov site that garnered at least 25,000 signatures. (It has since increased the minimum.) Facetious persons urged it to build a Death Star like the planet-destroyer in Star Wars.

Well, the petition got the necessary signatures, and the Obama administration responded: No, we shan’t build a Death Star. One reason given? Paul Shawcross, a budget official, noted the prohibitive cost.

“We’re working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it,” he says.


Now consider a widely reprinted lesson in accounting offered a little more than a year ago by Laurie Newsom of the Gainesville Tea Party. Newsom suggested that to better understand the government’s spending antics, drop eight zeros from the budget numbers. Newsom cited annual tax revenue of $2,170,000,000,000, a federal budget of $3,820,000,000,000, new debt of $1,650,000,000,000, national debt of $14,271,000,000,000. And “budget cuts” of $38,500,000,000.

Delete eight zeros and pretend that the national government is just one household. So instead of federal revenue of $2.17 trillion, we have one household bringing in $21,700. But in the same year, its residents are spending $38,200 and adding $16,500 to a credit card with an outstanding balance of $142,710. One the other hand, the family has “cut” $385 from its spending.

Sound like a very disciplined effort to get the fiscal house in order?

Things that can’t continue forever, don’t.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

5 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jan

    But (put in the program or subsidy)–“IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, AND CANNOT BE CUT”. This crosses party lines; ideological lines; regional lines; etc. Ethanol; milk and other farm support programs; flood insurance (subsidized); bailouts; etc

  2. Jan
    John Mattacola

    No more sacred cows! Today, the government should be cut in half. Then there will be money to pay down some debt. Since we are ruled by our inferiors, they cannot comprehend such easy math. Whole departments must go. GSA for starters. EPA and Dept of Education have to go. Any department not meeting their mission goals need to be shutdown. All government employees lose their cadillac healthcare and pensions. All elected officials do 12 years and then go home. No more lifetime jobs for these clowns. We already have yearly reports detailing foul behavior, use them! There needs to be a major shift in how government functions. And being a pig about things just does not work. The Founders knew all this and they are still correct. Refreshing the Tree of Liberty is not far off if this behavior continues. With the numbers listed above, even a 5th grader can understand… Heck, in 3rd grade I learned 12×12= a gross of bottle rockets!

  3. Jan
  4. Jan

    They are cutting $100 million out of the current budget, per Presbo. One/35,000th. I am quite willing to equally deprive myself and cut back on my monthly housing and operating budget of about $2000. That would knock it down about 6 cents.

  5. Jan

    Thankfully we’ve the Republicans who are working to cut spending – wait strike that, that’s not how they vote.

    We can thank the 15% of congress who actually do want to cut spending, but with a minority like that, it’s up to us to use the ballot box to protect our freedom.

Spruce up your comments with
<a href="" title=""><abbr title=""><acronym title=""><b><blockquote cite=""><cite><code><del datetime=""><em><i><q cite=""><strike><strong>
New comments are moderated before being shown * = required field Be sure to answer the simple math problem below to help demonstrate that you are a human rather than a spambot.

Leave a Comment

+ two = 8

1 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Common Sense with Paul Jacob » Archive » Townhall: The Debt Star We’re Building