Monday, April 20, 2009

The national latte

Here's Greg Mankiw on Obama's call for $100 million (with an "m") in budget cuts:

Just to be clear: $100 million represents .003 percent of $3.5 trillion.

To put those numbers in perspective, imagine that the head of a household with annual spending of $100,000 called everyone in the family together to deal with a $34,000 budget shortfall. How much would he or she announce that spending had be cut? By $3 over the course of the year--approximately the cost of one latte at Starbucks. The other $33,997? We can put that on the family credit card and worry about it next year.
The ship of state is sinking and the Obama administration is lightening the load by tossing all the ping-pong balls overboard:

President Obama, whose healthcare and economic stimulus initiatives threaten to dramatically inflate the federal budget deficit, heralded a new push Saturday to cut wasteful spending in Washington....

The president singled out a move by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to end consulting contracts to create seals and logos that he said had cost the department $3 million since 2003.
I have to ask: are there no dissenting voices, no devil's advocates, no consiglieres, on Obama's staff? Because I can only imagine the President threw out this risible idea and the White House sycophants nodded with great intensity at the revelation that office supplies can be purchased in bulk. It's enough to make you feel sorry for Robert Gibbs, who has to somehow explain away this nonsense.

ExtraWizbang: "Seriously. Obama can't even go for a billion in savings?"

More – Moderate Voice chirps happily: every little bit counts! Really, that's what you're going with? Suddenly I feel so much better about the $10 I'm saving every month for my kids' college tuition.

Update (4/21) - USN&WP Political Bulletin: "Obama cabinet spending cuts ridiculed."


Jim Glass said...

"Suddenly I feel so much better about the $10 I'm saving every month for my kids' college tuition."

Such exorbidant saving would start a new recession!

$100 mill is 1/17,000th of the $1.7 trillion deficit.

So if the kid's college tuition is $35,000, you'd save maybe $2 towards it in a year.

$10 a month would send forty kids to Harvard!

Vermont Woodchuck said...

Aaaahhh, go for the latte. The money isn't going to be worth squat anyway.

Steven Taylor said...

While I will readily concur it is a pittance, but isn't this the kind of thing that fiscal conservatives have been asking for for decades: to start somewhere and recognize that every little bit does, in fact, help. Usually it is the fiscal conservatives who say "can't we cut even a little bit from the budget" and the answer is "it is just a drop in bucket and doesn't matter, so why bother?"

Shouldn't fiscal conservatives be saying "thanks--now more, please"?

V. Volon said...

But that would demonstrate principle.

Talking points don't grow on trees, buddy.

Eric said...

Oh Steven, even Paul Krugman has ridiculed this "cut" (which is really just slightly slowing the rate of spending increase.)

Are you saying you're to the left of Paul Krugman?

Paul Krugman?!?

Oh, Steven, Steven, Steven.

P.S. - I had trouble getting on to Poliblog this morning. Seems OK now.

Anonymous said...

...isn't this the kind of thing that fiscal conservatives have been asking for for decades...Frankly, I think this political 'head-fake' is brilliant, but WAY too subtle. $100million USED to sound like a lot; now it's joke. 100 Billion might have resonated with the merely rationale left-of-center, but only moonbats can embrace a $100 million cut. It's not unlike a conservative farting the middle of a lefty-tornado.


Anonymous said...

Coincidentally enough, "farting in the middle of a tornado" is the right's scientific explanation for the temporary blip that is global warming.