Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Austerity Budget!

So, you think a hundred billion dollars sounds like a lot of money, eh? You old-school fossil, you. Since a "trillion" (T) is a thousand billion (B), we can keep a proper magnitude scale in our minds by denominating all monetary sums in units of T in the future. That hundred billion clams is really just a trifling $0.1T:
House budget leaders have sliced more than $100 billion from President Obama's spending plan, and today they unveiled a $3.45 trillion budget blueprint for the fiscal year that begins in October.

Much of the difference comes from a decision by House leaders to jettison Obama's plan to seek more cash for the Treasury Department's financial-sector bailout, a decision that would reduce the projected deficit but not prevent the administration from requesting the money.
So, if these congressional Democrats get their way, and lavish and bloated $3.55T budget would be pared to a bare-bones austerity budget of $3.45T ... almost three per cent less! No doubt, they'll compromise with the Rainbow Brite administration at some still-draconian level of "cutting" like a percent-and-a-half.

Alternatively, the Congress may have to learn yet again just how little its quaint ideas matter in the real scheme of things, as run by the (still-) unitary executive and the "audits? We don' need no steeenking audits!" Federal Reserve that can print "money" electronically, without even the expense of paper and multicolored inks. And that brings me back to how much a sum like $100B (sorry, I mean $0.1T) really means. By the time the fed's spreadsheet "printing press" has generated all the planned largesse to the banksters, $0.1T may very well be the price of a new Volkswagen Jetta. And it may cost $7B (sorry again ... doggone habits are hard to break! I mean $0.007T) to fill the modest gas tank on that fine new German-engineered chariot. Happy days!

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