A Hundred Whole Microbaracks

The administration is going to have a meeting to figure out how to cut <VOICE=”Dr. Evil” hand=”upside down” pinky_end=”in mouth”>…one hundred million dollars</VOICE> out of a multi-trillion dollar (multi-barack) budget.

And then, of course, after they do it (probably from defense) they’ll say that their opponents are lying about them when they accuse them of not cutting the budget. This would be funny if it weren’t so sad and pathetic.

[Update early afternoon]

Fooling the innumerate rubes:

…why bother? Because it may enhance the president’s “budget-cutter” image. Seriously. President Obama has reportedly been working closely with noted behavioral economists, and their studies have shown that most people are “insensitive to scope,” meaning they are not very good at putting large numbers in their proper context. People will react about the same to a policy proposal whether the cost/benefit is $10 million, $10 billion, or $10 trillion. Consequently, the $100 million cut may seem huge to many voters. (Note to conservative lawmakers: This is why the tiny 2005 reconciliation spending cuts were just as difficult to enact as the substantially larger 1990s reconciliation spending cuts. So if you are going to propose spending cuts, you may as well go big).

And based on the outcome of last year’s campaign, they may get away with it. Sigh…

I really wish that opponents would use more visual aids, like bar graphs. Here is the budget. Here are the president’s budget “cuts.”

[Tuesday morning update]

Speaking of visual aids


11 thoughts on “A Hundred Whole Microbaracks”

  1. Why is anyone assuming these ‘spending cuts’ won’t come out looking a whole lot like tax increases?
    Wouldn’t be the first time.

  2. I just heard some Obama official talk announce again that American’s making under $250,000 will get a substantial tax cut. $400 is not substantial and not a tax rate cut. And of course, that’s ignoring this.

    $100,000,000 is substantial until you compare it to $3,500,000,000,000. These people are playing Marie Antoinette and not understanding why the people are not happy eating cake.

  3. I don’t see much effort at deception:

    Q: A hundred million dollars, isn’t that a drop in the bucket, sir?

    THE PRESIDENT: It is, and that’s what I just said. None of these things alone are going to make a difference. But cumulatively they would make an extraordinary difference because they start setting a tone. And so what we’re going to do is line by line, page by page, $100 million there, $100 million here, pretty soon, even in Washington, it adds up to real money.

  4. I don’t see much effort at deception

    He plays to multiple audiences. Those who are numerate, he talks about small steps. Those otherwise, he emotes and says he’s trying.

    Either way, it’s pathetic.

  5. Another vote for the barak.

    This evening I saw the reception he received when he visited the CIA employees to offer reassurances. Flat killed my appetite for supper.

  6. “People will react about the same to a policy proposal whether the cost/benefit is $10 million, $10 billion, or $10 trillion. Consequently, the $100 million cut may seem huge to many voters.”

    Just scale the numbers to a family-sized budget, which lots of people can related to.

    $100M/100M = $1 the family is trying to cut back.

    $3.7T/100M = $37,000 the family is spending this year.

    Get similar numbers for what the family is earning this year (i.e. what the Federal government gets in income this year, scaled), what the family debt and yearly debt payments are, etc. I’m not looking up the numbers, but let’s say the family is making $20,000 per year, has a debt of $200,000 (plus $??? expected income and health payments to support parents about to retire), pays $7,000/year and rising to pay debt interest, etc.

    With that scaled scenario, the in-debt family making $20,000/year and spending $37,000/year doesn’t sound too frugal if they try to exert themselves and save $1.

    I don’t think that guy on the “Big Spender” reality TV show would be too impressed.

  7. The money isn’t being “saved” either, it’s merely going to be shuffled from one department to another.

    So he’s not even cutting a couple of lattes out of the budget, he’s buying a six-pack of soda with the latte money.

    There’s your deception, Jim.

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