Friday, July 17, 2009

One Trillion Dollars Short

As of this week, our government now has accumulated a deficit of more than one trillion dollars from this year alone. Personally, I find this shocking and appalling and perhaps a little bit surprising. You would think that being elected to some sort of government position would require at least basic math skills and perhaps a touch of personal responsibility. I guess not!

Though economics can be complicated at some times, balancing the budget is definitely not. Any elementary school student capable of basic subtraction could figure out how to balance the budget. The equation is very simple: Income - Expenses = Remaining Money. If your remaining money is greater than zero, then you have have a surplus. If the remainder is zero, then you have a balanced budget. If you have less than zero dollars left, then you have a deficit. Therefore, if you wish to avoid a deficit, all you must do is ensure that you don't spend money that you do not have.

Just to put this year's deficit into perspective, let us see how much this deficit will cost us. Supposing the federal government chose to collect enough money to pay off our deficit, every single man, woman and child in America would have to pay $3,268 to cover the deficit of the last six months alone. Projections for this year suggest that by the end of 2009 the deficit will rise to $1.84 trillion, essentially costing each person $6,013. That is six thousand dollars more than we've already paid in taxes. I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want to have to give the government that much money!

In the case of our federal government, there are several possible reasons for why we have a deficit. The first option is that politicians simply can't do math. The second option is that politicians are simply irresponsible, evidenced by their unwillingness to trim unnecessary expenses from our budget and by their increasing government spending on numerous fronts. The third option is that perhaps politicians believe that everyone's money belongs to them and they are free to spend it how they see fit, without any accountability. Truthfully, I wouldn't be surprised if it is combination of all three.

If we actually wanted to cut our expenses it would be very simple to do. Ending the broken and out-of-control Social Security program ($617 billion a year), the poorly-managed Medicare/Medicaid/CHIP program ($599 billion a year) and withdrawing from all the pointless wars we're fighting ($625 billion a year) would save us $1.81 trillion per year. Even if we've already spent half of that on such programs this year, ending them now would save us $900 billion dollars. But, of course, the government views those all as good and necessary programs... in fact, maybe we need a few more such programs...

I'm sure that poking a few more holes in our fiscal boat will keep it from sinking!


  1. oh Silas you haven't covered the most hideous expense of them all. We are committed over years(don't know many) to already over $99.2 trillion for our unfunded Social Security and Medicare obligations. That works out to around $330,000 a person! Or $1.3 million for a family of 4. There is no possible way paying that much money back ever! And Barak keeps on adding to the debt, willfully spending us into oblivion. If he keeps it up, we'll be worse off than Britain is, and after the mess that Gordon Brown their P.M. has done to them, that's no small feat.

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