I don’t know about you but I get lost with all the talk of federal budgets in the Trillions and proposed budget cuts of Millions or Billions and deficits and national debt, etc. I happen to like math and although I could not be mistaken for a math genius, I generally have a good idea of budgets and what not, but I must confess to being so often lost when I listen to discussions regarding our national spending habits. I suppose I could just ignore it and hope someone smarter than I will make sure we don’t go bankrupt, but that seems irresponsible for a voting member of the Republic. I guess it just seems to be the responsible thing to try to understand what is really happening and not just listen to left or right sound bytes.

With that in mind I thought I would try to break down the federal budget to the level of a family budget to see if it would make more sense to me and maybe to you as well. The first thing I did was to decide to convert the current proposed budget to $100,000. That seemed like a round number that I could get my hands around. So the conversion looks like this:

$3,834,000,000,000 ($3.834 Trillion)              =          $100,000

That is the simple part, but there are currently battles going on about cutting this budget because although we are planning to spend $100,000 this year, we only anticipate that we will have $67,023 in income. WOW, that is a huge shortfall. I don’t know about you but I would not be able to run my family finances like that for any length of time. That shortfall of almost $33,000 is the annual deficit. That is obviously not good, but when you consider that the country has pretty much run it’s finances like this for years you realize that each years deficit has added up to a very large national debt. I will convert that do dollars relative to the calculation above and it looks like this:

$10,498,000,000,000 ($10.498 Trillion)          =          $274,099

What this means is that we expect to have income of about $67,000 this year but plan on spending $100,000 and part of that expenditure (about $6,500) is to pay interest on the $274,000 that we have borrowed. That is really scary.

Since we think we need to spend $100,000 this year I wondered what was so important that we needed to spend this money so I found the following budget chart on the Heritage web site, from the Office of Management and Budget, which shows the following:  

Budget Category Amount Spent % of Budget
Social Security $20,571 20.57%
National Defense $19,780 19.78%
Medicare $13,203 13.20%
Income Security Programs $8,791 8.79%
Medicaid and SCHIP $7,484 7.48%
Net Interest $6,479 6.48%
Veterans Benefits $3,343 3.34%
Federal Retirement & Disability $3,294 3.29%
Unemployment Benefits $2,584 2.58%
Education $2,039 2.04%
Highways & Mass Transit $1,923 1.92%
Health Research & Regulation $1,728 1.73%
International Affairs $1,690 1.69%
Justice Administration $1,574 1.57%
Natural Resources and Environment $1,145 1.15%
General Science, space, and technology $866 0.87%
General Government $835 0.84%
Other Mandatory Health $812 0.81%
Other Spending offsetting receipts $1,858 1.86%
  $100,000 100.00%


This really is not too helpful and I don’t know if I would have any idea where to cut money, but I do think it is instructive to look at these numbers and then compare these numbers with what the Republicans and Democrats are proposing for cuts to this budget.

Before I get to the proposed cuts, I do want to make an editorial comment about our Presidents desire to be fiscally responsible and to see the budget cut. This budget of $100,000 that he has proposed is compared to the last budget of the Bush administration (no paragons of fiscal restraint) of about $78,000. We thought he was borrowing too much money to balance his budget.

Now to the proposed cuts! Can you say disingenuous? Are these guys really serious? The Republicans proposed cuts of about $61,000,000,000 sounds like a lot, but it is comparable to $1,593 on a budget of $100,000. They should be able to do that while sleepwalking. Before getting too upset with the Republicans though, at least they are proposing those cuts and not whining like a bunch of school boys about Cowboy poetry festivals. The Democrat counter proposed cuts? They proposed $6,500,000,000 in cuts. Again sounds like a lot of money, but this is only about $170 in the $100,000 budget. That is not even coffee money for a year. This is pathetic.

Ok, so now I am seriously irritated with these politicians, but then, where is the leadership? Why Does President Obama propose this budget in the first place and then have the temerity to lecture the congress about getting serious about making budget cuts. This is the kind of leadership that gets company CEO’s thrown in jail. Why do we let these guys (term used in a generically neutral way) get away with this stuff? This is immoral.