Where would you start on a 2012 White House proposed budget that is projected to take in $2.6 trillion and spend $3.7 trillion? (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2012/assets/budget.pdf)
Numbers with the word trillion after them can be hard to comprehend. I got a quizzical look recently from a family member when I used million-million. So here’s what I do.
$3.7trillion = $3,700,000,000,000 = $3700 billion
Drop all the extraneous zeros and start out talking about $3700.00. Thirty seven hundred dollars is a number anyone can understand. That turns tens and hundreds of millions into pennies and dimes, respectively.
Even a number as large as one billion becomes easier to grasp out of 3700 billion when you realize that it’s one “dollar” out of 3700. That one (billion) dollar(s) becomes a paltry and practically meaningless – in a relative sense – 0.027% of the total.
With that in mind, I would be curious to know where the following would end up on anyone’s list for cuts greater than might already be built into the 2012 budget.
Planned Parenthood (Title X)
“Unlike the House Republicans’ Continuing Resolution for the rest of Fiscal Year 2011, which Congress is debating this week, the president’s budget proposes a $10 million increase to the Title X program, calling for this critical program to be funded at $327 million.”
327 million = 0.327 billion. That’s 33 cents out of 3700 dollars. It’s 0.00891% of the total budgeted expense of our federal government.
“CPB requests a $495 million advance appropriation for FY 2014, an increase of $50 million over the last enacted advance appropriation ($445 million in FY 2012).”
445 million for FY 2012 is 0.445 billion. That’s 45 cents out of 3700 dollars, or 0.01216%.
“Continues strong support for high-quality early childhood programs with more than $8 billion for Head Start and Early Head Start to serve approximately 968,000 children and families”
8 (billion) is 0.216% of 3700 (billion)
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) mission is to protect human health and the environment. The President’s 2012 Budget includes $9 billion to continue to deliver on this mission, a decrease of $1.3 billion.
A $1.3 billion decrease on $10.3 billion is a 12.6% REDUCTION in spending for the EPA.
$9 (billion) is 0.24% of 3700 (billion).
The President’s 2012 Budget for the Department of Defense (DOD) reflects that commitment, proposing $553 billion – an increase of $22 billion above the 2010 appropriation.
A $22 billion increase to $553B is a 4% INCREASE in spending on defense.
$553 (billion) is 14.94% of $3700 (billion)
So, do we start with more cuts to tiny programs that may have already had their budgets cut, or do we cut those where there’s a planned increase and that account for significant percentages of the total? I say the latter.
Mathematically and logically, do we start with expenses that represent 33 cents, 45 cents, 8 dollars, 9 dollars, or 553 dollars out of 3700? Doesn’t make sense to me to cut pennies when hundreds of dollars are possible.
Do we cut more from programs that represent 0.00891%, 0.01216%, 0.216%, 0.24%, or 15% of the total projected expense? I say the one that is 15% ought to be cut first.
Depending on what numbers one wants to accept and acknowledging that it seems impossible to do this with any certainty by people way more smarter than I, one thing seems clear even to me. The Bush era tax cuts and their extension is costing the government anywhere from 1.6 to 2.5trillion in uncollected tax revenues – mostly from the rich – and has not done one friggin’ thing to improve the economy as far as I can tell.
IMHO, it’s crazy and dangerous to pretend the budget can be balanced and the debt reduced only by cutting expenses. Tax revenues also have to be increased.
My plan would be simple because I’m simply not fully informed or smarter than anyone else. It’s just where I – a common man like any tea bagger…except without the pointy hat and Ben Franklin get-up – would start.
1. Raise income and capital gains taxes on richest 2% and on corporate profits immediately to Clinton era levels. Even higher would be ok, too. I’m using that era in our history if for no other reason than it was a time when there was economic expansion and a budget surplus.
2. Change the tax code immediately to a more progressive schedule that captures more tax the more income that individuals make (and presumably, then, encouraging the true heroes of capitalism – and I mean it sincerely – the small business owner to make a decent living while having a tax incentive to invest “excess” income back into their business)
3. Close every corporate tax loop hole there is, starting with the ones that benefit oil, coal, gas, and financial services industries. They are doing just fine without them, thank you very much.
4. Not only *not* increase the DoD budget, but find ways to cut it by….I don’t know….10% seems reasonable. More is better. Stopping the pissing away of lives and money in the Middle East would help, too.
Just my 2 cents. It’s about all I have left…..