You've Got Just Three Months to Reduce Your Spending By One Cup of Coffee!

So President Obama has given his Cabinet members just 90 days to come up with, er, $100 million in spending cuts. Just how statistically insignificant is this amount? Cue Harvard economist and former George W. Bush economic adviser Greg Mankiw:

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 to 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.

Senior Editor Jacob Sullum wrote about Obama's "savings" via higher taxes last month, and about Mankiw's Bush-era "gaffes" in 2004. Contributing Editor Veronique de Rugy demonstrated in February how Obama's "New Era of Responsibility" and transparency was anything but, and I am still waiting for Obama's serially promised "net spending cut."

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  • ||

    I am smart and you voters are stupid. I can tell you whatever rediculous line I want and you will beleive me.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    It's a publicity stunt designed to give the impression that the Obama administration is doing the exact opposite of what it is actually doing.

    And that's been pretty much the standard operation procedure by them from the start.

  • ||

    Just don't tell us you can spell.

  • Abdul||

    To be fair, Obama knows how to tighten the belt. Think of how much money he saved by cutting those scholarships for DC's poor students!

  • ||

    "It's a publicity stunt designed to give the impression that the Obama administration is doing the exact opposite of what it is actually doing."

    It gives the Keith Obermans and Chris Matthews of the world talking points and an easy way to obstruct conversations and keep people from realizing what is going on.

  • Xeones||

    See, to us normal folk that's a lot of money.

    Fuck Barack Obama.

  • High Every Body||

    It's a publicity stunt designed to give the impression that the Obama administration is doing the exact opposite of what it is actually doing.

    And that's been pretty much the standard operation procedure by them from the start.


    Did Carter do anything this transparently stupid? Beyond the sweater-clad fireside chats and carrying his own luggage.

  • Mike in PA||

    The problem is most people have no concept of a billion, a trillion...

    I use this one:

    Let's say this dollar bill is a billion dollars. Then this dime is worth $100 million. Now to boggle your mind even more, the government just spent nearly $2000 of your money.

    So when they say "at least he's cutting." Ask 'em for 2K, give 'em a dime, and say "now shut the fuck up!"

  • ||

    This amounts to them stopping spending money for a whole ten minutes. Then they continue to spend for the next 364 days, 23 hours and 50 minutes as normal. Wow that is some major change. 90 days to find 100 million they should have only been given 90 seconds to find 100 million EACH.

  • concise is nice||

    an easy way to obstruct conversations and keep people from realizing what is going on

    Is there a word or short phrase for that? I've come upon the need to express that exact thing recently, and it doesn't tend to penetrate closed minds with the attention span of a hamster.

  • ||

    ... and I am still waiting for Obama's serially promised "net spending cut."



    Patience is often a virtue. It is equally often folly. IOW -

    Ain't.
    Gonna.
    Happen.

  • ||

    Is there a word or short phrase for that?

    "Obfuscating" seems to fit.

  • Mike M.||

    Obama's proposed budget is around $3.7 trillion, so by my calculations it would take the federal government less than 15 minutes to burn through $100 million under his plan. And, that's about how long it takes me to get through a cup of coffee.

  • ||

    I voted for the Obama who promised a net spending cut, to end the war, to restore some semblance of civil liberties, and to work hard for the ordinary working citizen.

    When does that guy take office?

  • Xeones||

    "Obfuscating" seems to fit.

    Obamafuscating?

  • ||

    Xeones FTW.

  • ||

    "Is there a word or short phrase for that?

    "Obfuscating" seems to fit."

    That was the word I was looking for and couldn't remember. I knew obstruct was not quite right but could not remember the right word. I hate when that happens. Thanks for the word.

  • Xeones||

    Some Guy Named Steve, you believed a politician? Then you're getting what you deserve. Sadly, the rest of us are too.

  • ||

    "We have scoured the NASA budget, Mister President. We've been through it from one end to the other, and I have to tell you, there just isn't a dollar's worth of nonessential spending in there. Go talk to those Veterans Administration clowns; their entire operation is riddled with fraud, waste, and abuse."

  • ||

    Hire me, oh chosen one. I'll be the axe that prunes wasteful spending. Shall we start?

    Department of Agriculture (USDA)
    Department of Commerce (DOC)
    Department of Defense (DOD)
    Department of Education (ED)
    Department of Energy (DOE)
    Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
    Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
    Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
    Department of Justice (DOJ)
    Department of Labor (DOL)
    Department of State (DOS)
    Department of the Interior (DOI)
    Department of the Treasury
    Department of Transportation (DOT)
    Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)


    Do we really need an Administration on Aging?

  • ||

    Thanks for the word.

    Happy to be useful. Now go forth and use "of" after "myriad" no more.*

    *pet peeve of the month, not directed at John

  • Your Favorite Queer||

    "Is there a word or short phrase for that?"

    Slight of mind.

    - YFQ

  • ||

    "Is there a word or short phrase for that?"

    I just use "lie".

  • robc||

    I voted for the Obama who promised

    You voted for a politician based on his promises?
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    Okay, really? Sucker.

  • robc||

    J sub D,

    How did HUD survive? Statist.

  • ||

    J Sub D,

    I think you need to keep the VA on there. Like it or not, the people the VA serves were injured thanks to and in service of the government. The government owes them care.

    All the other ones, need to go.

  • ||

    HUD surivies, but you kill off DHS? DHS includes Border Patrol, Secret Service and Customs. Last I looked, controling the border, collecting customs duties and protecting the currency are actual no kidding federal responsibilities in the Constitution. Everyone loves to rip on DHS. But the fact is that outside of FEMA, you could go back to Lockner and all DHS would still be there. .

  • ||

    "Veterans' services" should be handled by the DoD, I'd say.

  • concise is nice||

    I agree that "obfuscate" fits, but "sleight of mind" does get the implied situation across better: the earth wasn't destroyed because Arther is still running around. Thanks.

  • robc||

    John,

    The DHS is about 6 years old. All of that stuff existed before then. It can all move back to its old departments.

  • ||

    ⅞ Libertarian,

    "I was impressed to see that she made proper use of the word 'myriad' in her suicide note."

  • ||

    Excellent post bridge, Mr Free! All I could recall was "Ess-kee-mo" and "Fuck me gently with a chainsaw".

  • ||

    Yes HUD needs to go as well. How do you turn an area that was once nice into a section of town that emminent domain will try to reclaim in the near future? Move in a bunch of HUD subsidized folks. I have yet to see a single nice area that HUD did not start moving people into be it apartments or homes where the place didn't go to shit in no time.

  • ||

    "John,

    The DHS is about 6 years old. All of that stuff existed before then. It can all move back to its old departments."


    Actually no. ICE used to be in commerce which would no longer exist. It makes sense to have one department that is responsible for immigration and customs. You kill off FEMA and send USSS back to treasury. But you leave ICE, CBP, USCIS and USCG in one organization since they are responsible for protecting the border and enforcing Customs. If you put them different Departments, you will go back to the bad old days when no one talked to each other or worked with each other and INS wouldn't pick up someone who was thought to be a terrorist for overstaying their Visa.

  • ||

    If Obama were serious about reducing government spending, he'd take one item off of the Top 100 Things I'd Do if I Ever Became a Libertarian President:

    88. At the beginning of my first term, I will order the construction (after a fundraiser) of a small stadium on the Mall, which I will call. . .Thunderdome. Into Thunderdome, I will send the secretaries of every cabinet-level agency--excluding State, Defense, DOJ, and the Treasury--in pairs. Two go in, one comes out. Two go in, one comes out.

  • ||

    The scary part is that cutting that trifling amount will, in fact, be a real challenge for the feds.

  • ||

    we won and you lost. just accept it and stop whining about everything

  • ||

    How did HUD survive? Statist.


    Clerical error. The resposible secretary has been disciplined.


    I think you need to keep the VA on there. Like it or not, the people the VA serves were injured thanks to and in service of the government. The government owes them care.


    Agreed that we owe vets medical care for injuries received in the line of duty. We don't need a whole goddam cabinet department (it only became a federal department in 1988) with all of the waste that goes with it to manage what is essentially medicare for disabled vets.

    I'll admit the VA hospital here on Motown is a beautiful building that I've read no horror stories about. Still they provide no services that are not available at other hospitals/health service providers. Give injured vets a card (DOD), pay the charges (Treasury), and monitor for fraud (DOJ).

  • ||

    Yep, i'm wondering how Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) got to satay, too.

    Far as I can tell, we could get by with four cabinet level departments.

    State, War (that's right, let's call it what it's for), Justice and Treasury. Seems to me you can find a spot one of those for every constitutionall mandated duty of the FedGov.

    John, the Coast Guard was under the Treasury for nearly two hundred years (except for wartime when it was under the SecNav. And yes we'll probably still need some of those second tier departments.

  • ||

    I'd like to make a giant satay of HUD and eat it with a nice peanut sauce.

  • ||

    But you leave ICE, CBP, USCIS and USCG in one organization since they are responsible for protecting the border

    Isn't that the DoD's job?

  • ||

    Isn't that the DoD's job?

    Threadwinner, mofo. The Department of Defense wins the prize for the "most Orwellian cabinet level position"

  • dave b.||

    J sub D doesn't go nearly far enough. I'm all for implementing Rockwell's 30-day plan. I'd bump up days 4, 16, and 21 to the top of the list, though. Rockwell's next 30 days aren't bad either. I'd bump day 6 a little higher on this one.

  • robc||

    But you leave ICE, CBP, USCIS and USCG in one organization

    Stick them all in interior then.

  • Wicks Cherrycoke||

    High Every Body asks:
    "Did Carter do anything this transparently stupid?"

    Yes. Remember "zero based budgeting" -- the notion that ever year, government would have to ask for funding from zero, and not "assume" that the prior year's allocation was the starting point? Guess how much that saved.

  • robc||

    State, War (that's right, let's call it what it's for), Justice and Treasury

    Interior too. State and War need to be focused outward.

  • robc||

    Wicks,

    zero-based budgeting is a good idea. By itself, however, it doesnt solve a thing.

  • ||

    "But you leave ICE, CBP, USCIS and USCG in one organization since they are responsible for protecting the border

    Isn't that the DoD's job?"


    DOD has never engaged in customs collection, even in the 19th Century. Also, immigration is basically benefits adjudicating function (who gets in and who doesn't) and a law enforcment function (finding smuglers). Both of those things have nothing to do with the skill set necessary for national defense and nothing you would want DOD to spend time doing. Do you want the Army raiding chicken plants or confiscating pirate CDs in warehouses in Chicago? That is the kind of things ICE does.

    Maybe three hundred years ago when customs meant hunting down pirates and stopping ships smuggling tea, it would have been DOD's job. But not now. It should also be noted Congress created the Coast Guard to enforce customs back in the 1790s. It did not give the job to the Navy.

  • ||

    Do what Ron Paul suggested. Bring the troops home, close down foreign bases. What could save more than that?

  • Gilberrt Martin||

    "Do what Ron Paul suggested. Bring the troops home, close down foreign bases. What could save more than that?"

    The immediate elimination of every single "entitlement" program in the country - that's what.

  • db||

    "an easy way to obstruct conversations and keep people from realizing what is going on

    Is there a word or short phrase for that? I've come upon the need to express that exact thing recently, and it doesn't tend to penetrate closed minds with the attention span of a hamster.


    It's not just doublespeak, it's doubleact!

  • ||

    It should also be noted Congress created the Coast Guard to enforce customs back in the 1790s.



    Yes, and for nearly 200 years it sat at Treasury. Which is where Customs should be. If there are efficiencies to be gained by having a unified border enforcement agency that's where immigration should be too.

    Of course, if we only had four cabinet departments (I'm still working on whether to agree with robc on Interior*) there'd still be a metric shitonne of undersecretaries for all the agencies that would have to get moved to them.

    *In other countries the Interior Ministry handles police** and internal spying. It's nice that ours handles National Parks.

    **For all the bad things about J Edgar he did resist pressure from several presidents to make the FBI into a national police force (something that it has, arguably, now become), something he insisted would be unconstitutional. Whether the intrusive politicized spy agency he did create was preferable to a Gendarmerie I can't say.

  • ||

    Do you want the Army raiding chicken plants

    That depends; are the chickens plotting to overthrow the government and enslave us?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I have a brother-in-law who is a Coast Guard captain and helicopter pilot currently stationed somewhere near Pakistan.
    What's up with that? How is that guarding the coast?

  • ||

    Isaac Bartram,

    The FBI really has lost a lot of its reason for being. In the 1920s, I could rob a bank in Atlanta and go to Seattle and the police would probably not know who I was. Thus, there was a real need for a national law enforcement agency to handle interstate crimes. Today with technology and the information sharing that goes on between state and locals, there isn't so much anymore. Are state and locals really incapable of investigating bank robberies? The FBI needs to be stripped of most of its jurisdiction. It should concentrait on international terrorism, counter inteligence, and government corruption, which are things the states and locals can't really do. Then it should be takne out of DOJ and placed into one cabinet position, call it DHS, interior, Treasury or whatever you want to call it, with ICE, CBP and the other federal law enforcement agencies.

  • JB||

    Fuck Obama, fuck his family, fuck his administration, fuck democrats, fuck anyone that voted for him.

  • wingnutx||

    70. Issue a call (on Monkey Tuesday, natch) for a privately funded memorial dedicated to all of the monkeys who have lost their lives in the service of the United States. Part of the overall effort will be to encourage a Million Monkey March on the Mall.

    Racist!

    I hope joe never sees this.

  • ||

    The resposible secretary has been disciplined.

    But did she enjoy it? I never hire a secretary who doesn't crave a little discipline now and then.

  • ||

    wingnutx,

    No doubt. I had no such thought in my head at the time, but racism is a strict liability offense.

  • ||

    There were MPs from Ft. Rucker Al. patrolling in Samson after last months mass shooting.

    link here

  • economist||

    Let's see, here. 100 million/1.7 trillion? Barack Obama has put Congress's feet to the fire to reduce the projected deficit by... 0.006 percent. Wow. And here I thought he was going to be free-spending lefty.

  • economist||

    "Fuck Obama, fuck his family,"

    JB, you're not a pederast, are you?

  • M. Simon||

    "Do what Ron Paul suggested. Bring the troops home, close down foreign bases. What could save more than that?"

    And while we are at it we need a plan for avoiding the wars that will follow.

  • ||

    Meh, I think Defense is a better name than War. The department doesn't shut down during peacetime, guys.

  • Vizzini||

    And while we are at it we need a plan for avoiding the wars that will follow.

    You mean countries would be unhappy once welf^Hforeign aid from the US dries up? Inconceivable!

  • ||

    An even better name is the Department of Offense.

  • ||

    I notice a distinct lack of lefty defense on this. Tony? Brotherben? Anyone? What the spin on this? I drool with anticipation. PLEASE tell us how this makes things okay.

  • Ynot||

    PLEASE tell us how this makes things okay.

    Only fascists complain when government gives back to the people.

  • ||

    fascist...hmm...

    In the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

  • Joel||

    Do we really need an Administration on Aging?

    Absolutely. They're going to outlaw it any time now. Then you'll see how useful the AoA has been!

  • engineer||

    Well, Obama has...chutzpah. That's really all I can say. If you can urgently demand that Congress run up a trillion-dollar deficit, and then afterwards say loudly "Cut $100 million from the budget!" with a straight face, you've got to have plenty of it.

  • engineer||

    "In the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, 'You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.'"

    Inconceivable!

  • engineer||

    "Tony? Brotherben? Anyone? What the spin on this?"
    Oh, don't pick on brotherben. I get the impression that half his comments are tongue-in-cheek anyway.

  • engineer||

    "and I am still waiting for Obama's serially promised 'net spending cut.' "

    While you're waiting for that, I'll wait for all the air molecules in the campus library to spontaneously collect in a 1 m^2 space.

    Or I could study for finals. Actually, since that seems more fruitful than either pursuit, I'll do that. After I've ranted some more.

  • B||

    "we won and you lost. just accept it and stop whining about everything"

    Yeah, well I have news for you tom. Electoral success does not inoculate you from fucking up. This administration has been a fucking pathetic joke since day one; these fucking clowns spent more taxpayer money than this on the inauguration. Looking back, it is obvious that the inaugural spending spree set the tone for this fucking clown of a president's entire first term.

    And it seems the left's new favorite adage is "Dissent was the highest form of patriotism"

  • B||

    "Do what Ron Paul suggested. Bring the troops home, close down foreign bases. What could save more than that?"

    It would behoove libertarians to realize that citing that fucking wacko does not really enhance your reputation.

  • economist||

    B,
    Stop knocking the Hope and Change(tm).

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