Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Everything Will Be Different in 17 Minutes

Yesterday, President Obama challenged his cabinet to put a man on the moon this decade trim $100 million from the budget. I hope he didn't spend too much time explaining this sweeping change from George Bush's spending bonanza.

FY2009 Budget: $3.107 trillion
FY2009 Budget per minute: $5.91 million

There you have it, 16 minutes, 55 seconds of change we can believe in. Really. Change. As in the stuff you find under the couch cushions. Here's how Don Boudreaux expressed his under-exuberance:

To put this budget "cut" in perspective, suppose that the typical American family, earning $50,000 annually, plans this year to run a budget deficit proportionate to the deficit that Uncle Sam will run. Such a family would plan to spend $75,000. Now suppose that this family, seeking to signal its faux-commitment to financial prudence, promises spending cuts equal, in proportion to its budget, to the cuts announced today by Mr. Obama.

This family would declare - surely with much fanfare - that it will reduce its planned expenditures for the year by $2.08! Perhaps it might promise to survive the year with one less gallon of gasoline or with one less cup of coffee.

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