Monday, April 20, 2009

Spending cuts, drop from the bucket style

So if the bucket is too heavy to carry, and you take one drop out of it, well, that's gonna make a difference. And then if you take another drop out of it, sooner or later, that adds up to …

The Heritage Foundation has come up with another of these great graphics, similar in impact to the one in the tea party post. They did not get it from the WaPo this time, either. It's by John Fleming of their staff:

(If that link doesn't work, there is an archived copy at Iterasi.)

Can you see the proposed cuts? The tiny black dot way up at the top.

The WaPo article linked by Heritage quotes Obama:

"None of these things alone are going to make a difference. But cumulatively they make an extraordinary difference because they start setting a tone. And so what we are 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."
It also quotes Greg Mankiw:
Just to be clear: $100 million represents .003 percent of $3.5 trillion.

To put those numbers in perspective, imagine that the head of a household with annual spending of $100,000 called everyone in the family together to deal with a $34,000 budget shortfall. How much would he or she announce that spending had to be cut? By $3 over the course of the year--approximately the cost of one latte at Starbucks. The other $33,997? We can put that on the family credit card and worry about it next year.
Paul Krugman does some arithmetic:
Let’s say the administration finds $100 million in efficiencies every working day for the rest of the Obama administration’s first term. That’s still around $80 billion, or around 2% of one year’s federal spending.
This amount is no more than "ground noise and static." So who does the President think he's kidding?

Thanks once again to Glenn Reynolds, and to Mark Hemingway for the Krugman quote.

Update: Ezra Klein thinks the President is kidding the voters, who are too dense to figure out the numbers. And this is a good thing, because it's a smart way to get headlines. Lefties do these things for the benefit of The People, who are so thick that they must be deceived for their own good. Revolting, and revealing.

XKCD hits the news media on the same kind of thing.

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