Obama’s Clever Math and the Problem with Deficits

Hotair has a story today that Obama is “cutting” $17 billion from the budget for 2009. It’s a paltry sum, but it’s a pretty clever game he’s playing.

To understand why it’s clever, let’s go back in time a month or so.

Obama promised to cut the budget by $100 million – they weren’t really cuts but that’s not the point. A paltry sum to be sure. But days later, he promised $100 billion to the IMF. To the casual observer, if you read it fast enough, it seems like a wash.

So, it repeats again. the budget for 2009 is $3.4 trillion. He promises cuts for $17 billion. Again, the math is very easy. It seems like a significant amount of money – even more significant given that 17 divides into 34 very easily. This is, of course, planned. Humans are very poor at conceputalizing large numbers – but if you make them divisible, they are easier to comprehend.

Thus $100 million is easy to compare to $100 billion. $3.4 trillion is easy to compare to $17 billion.

But the bigger problem is this:

Big Government is never popular in theory, but the disaster aid, school lunches and prescription drugs that make up Big Government have become wildly popular in practice

We’ve been running differing sized deficits for decades now. We are reaching a tipping point where the government’s ponzi schemes can no longer sustain themselves. The government runs 5 different sets of books. In sum, the total debt is something like $60 trillion dollars. The $11 trillion debt number is just the “public” number to make it look manageable.

So what’s the solution? Drastic action. States are running deficits. The Feds are running deficits. Pensions are running deficits.

But, as tax payers, it’s all theoretical. What do we care if the government is $60 trillion in hock? It doesn’t affect me. Or you. Yet.

So the public continues to support big government and ponzi schemes, up until the point they explode in our face and destroy this economy once and for all.

So here’s my solution. I propose a constitutional amendment that says “If a state or the federal government is in deficit at the end of a fiscal year, all citizens of that state (or country, if it’s a federal deficit) much each kick in their amount of that deficit to cover it.”

So, if the country is (like 2009) $1.3 trillion in debt, each person (300,000,000 of us) must kick in $4,300 to cover it. No exemptions. No excuses.

How does that big government feel when you have to cut a check for $4,300 – which you probably don’t have – as your part of it? It wouldn’t be so cute to talk about $100 million when that knocks off about 33 cents off that check.