The headlines in today’s news are not encouraging: Treasury Secretary Geithner says jobs created by the stimulus program cost an average $200,000 but were worth it, a super-rich doofus from Google shouts out to Obama at town hall meeting to “raise my taxes,” and Gallup reports that a new survey says half of Americans think the government is a threat to our individual liberties and freedom. Oh, and the stock market continues its gyrations.
But the biggest news of the day is that the U.S. Senate has passed a bill and forwarded it to the House for consideration, that will keep the federal government operating until November 18th. So for the fourth year in a row we don’t have a federal budget and the best U.S. Senators can do is pass a stop-gap measure that keeps us operating for six weeks or so. What outstanding leadership! (Where’s that font for sarcasm?)
Government spending is out of control, which will ultimately lead to inflation and a devaluation of the U.S. dollar, resulting in a horrible “tax” increase on every American for everything they spend money on, as that dollar gets worth less and less. The latest fiasco is the dwindling amount of money in FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) for payment of disaster-related expenses to individuals and for payment of publicly-paid rebuilding of roads, bridges, hospitals or the like. In the 1990′s Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress routinely passed DRF funding with cuts in other budget programs. Today, Democrats demagogue the concept with screams of balancing the budget on the backs of disaster victims.
Today’s legislation, according to the Washington Post:
The new pact, which the Senate approved 79 to 12 and the House is expected to ratify next week, will keep federal agencies open until Nov. 18 at a level of spending that represents a 1.5 percent cut from this year’s levels.
Wow! A cut of 1.5% from this year’s levels, which are the highest levels of government spending in our nation’s history. We borrow $100 billion per month and we can’t find any place to cut spending to replenish the DRF? The current federal budget is approximately $1.4 trillion (here’s how that number looks: 1,400,000,000,000). Congress, if the House passes the Senate bill, will fund FEMA’s DRF with $3.65 billion. That is 0.002% of the federal budget. In other words, if your household budget is $25,000 per year, the FEAM DRF is $50.00 or your yearly budget.
Think about this – if Republicans stuck to their guns and demanded an equal amount of offsets to other spending programs, the House and Senate would have to find a grand total of TWO MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS in budget cuts to fund disaster relief. Here’s a suggestion. It costs you and me approximately $181,000/hour to operate Air Force One. If Obama cut just 15.4 hours of flying on AF1 he could save the government enough money to offset the needs for the FEMA DRF between now and November 18th.
Actually, POTUS wouldn’t even need to cut out 15 hours of flying time. The $181,000/hour figure is for the actual flight cost of AF1 alone. Considering the other planes flying ahead of and with the President we could probably assume he would only need to cut out 7 hours of flying time. Heck, he could have saved that just with this week’s visits to Denver and the West Coast. But, I suppose that campaigning is more important than saving taxpayer money.
When you hear Senators and House members talk about how they offset the FEMA funds with significant savings elsewhere, write or ask them how saving the equivalent of $50.00 for a year for an average family is significantly cutting federal spending.
As long as we fail to deal with even this minute level of spending in this manner, I fear for the fiscal well-being of the United States. We have become the equivalent of meth addicts, unable or unwilling to stop a life-threatening habit. Only a major financial catastrophe where we hit bottom will make us change. Just like those addicts, at least those who are able to survive hitting the bottom.