Archives for posts with tag: Spending

We often hear that government should have to balance its checkbook, “just like the average American family does”. By and large, the pundits and politicos that Mr. Blunt and Cranky has heard espousing this line have focused on our national “family” cutting back on expenses. As a family man who can, indeed, balance a checkbook, he knows that you can only cut so much before you start skimping on meals, medicines, winter coats for the kids, etc.  No, sometimes a family member has to get a second job to get the accounts back order.

So it is with governments local, state and national: you can only cut so much before you have to bring in some more green and folding to keep the lights on.  And in spite of inflation, wars, national calamities, and a host of other costly items, we have kept taxes low and even lowered some further. We are at the point where the majority of the financially literate amongst American families and businesses are saying “enough already, raise some friggin’ taxes”.

In this case, we had 8+ years of a Congress that  ran up the credit card balance to absurd heights (like many families have done), and now don’t want to look at the common-sense solution of bringing in more money temporarily  to pay it off (like many families have done). If government officials are so fond of the “family” analogy, let’s see them follow it more closely.

Mr. B & C

Here is an interesting article that points out the lie that is Congressional rhetoric:

In brief: the Congress is telling the Defense Department how to do its job, and spending money that the Pentagon does not want spent. Why, you ask? ‘Tis elementary, my dear Watson:

“We are saying it’s true in pretty much all aspects of politics – but especially the defense industry. It’s almost impossible to separate out the money that is going into elections and the special interests. And what we found was the direct spike in the giving around certain important dates that were tied to votes.” So says Aaron Metha, one of the report’s authors. Put another way: Congress is more interested in lining its pockets than properly funding the operations of our government. And we get stuck with the bill while they become millionaires in the process.

Next time you hear a Senator or Congresscritter rail against deficits, take it with a ton or two of salt. They don’t care about us, or our troops, or the deficit, or the debt: they only care about how much money they can stuff into their billfolds.

Mr. B & C

When Mr. Blunt and Cranky was Young Blunt (and not quite as cranky), he wasn’t making much money and had trouble coughing up the security deposit on an apartment. After crunching the numbers, a solution was arrived at – he would eat almost nothing for a couple of weeks. After that, he’d be able to afford groceries and the apartment.

Man, those were tough days to get through: one week, the entirety of each day’s calories came from 1” thick, 4” x 4” slices of old (and nasty) fruitcake from the previous year’s holidays. Two of those slices per day.  Your humble correspondent lost a bit of weight and felt pretty crap the while, but since it was temporary and he was young and healthy, he got through it. No way he would have done it if he had had to do it for a longer period of time: he could have gotten really sick or even starved to death.

As a short-term fix, cuts can be effective, if properly used. In the long term, cuts by themselves only work if you have lots of stuff to cut out, and it is a mistake to assume that there’s always lots to cut.  We have been busily cutting away for several decades, like hyperactive beavers in a forest of balsa wood, and there aren’t many easy things remaining to cut out of the governmental  budget. So when politicians start talking about cutting even more and foregoing revenue, one would be well advised to ask some more questions about those cuts, such as why, what, for how long, and so forth.

The “what” depends on party ideology, pretty much, so there’s not a lot of new data to be gotten within that question.  The “why” and “for how long” are where we find what will be done unto us by our “representatives”.

Dems want to cut handouts to certain types of industries and rich folks, and use the savings to finance other governmental activities that they like. They don’t want to starve the government to death, they want it healthy over the long haul; so they’ll cut in one place and add to another place as they deem fit.

Repubs actually want to get rid of government (Post-1976 Rs, anyway), so they have no objection to starving it to death (unlike this blogger’s younger self): in fact, one of the leaders of the Republican party has said he wants to starve the gummint until it is so weak that he can “drown it in a bathtub”. 

This writer doesn’t like everything that is done by the Feds, Staties or Local Yokels; but he likes the idea of police, firefighters, running water, freedom from being invaded by foreign powers, paved roads and other governmentally-derived goodies. Indeed, he likes them so much that, like most valuable commodities, he is willing to pay for them. So, he favors a balanced approach to taxing/spending.

As with our own bodies, we can only cut so many “calories” from the government for so long before we wind up starving it to death.

Mr.  & C