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March 11, 2011

Waking Up to Reality

Joe Charlebois

Last November’s election has exposed the fact that there are few serious legislators on the left side of the aisle.


Democrat leadership – led by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid (D., NV) – had proposed $ 4.7 Billion in spending cuts from the annual budget in response to the “draconian” $61 Billion in spending cuts that the Republican minority has proposed and the House of Representatives has approved.


In response to the disparity in proposals Democratic leaders urged the White House to step into the fray. The White House brought forth a compromise level of cuts totaling $6 Billion in cuts. According to White House communications director, Dan Pfeiffer, the proposal met the Republican’s $61 Billion in cuts “halfway.”


(As a side note – halfway would be $30.5 Billion in cuts, not the $6 Billion in cuts that had been proposed. I learned math the old fashioned way.)


Just how devastating are the cuts under any definition?


It turns out that the Republican proposal, although 10 times the amount that the Democrat leadership proposal, still amounts to only 1.3% of the entire annual budget. The Democrats’ proposal is only a miniscule 0.127% of the annual budget.


The Republican proposal (H.R. 1) failed to pass without the support of three Republican senators and a party line Democrat vote. The Democrats who voted on a party line perceived the proposed cuts as that too steep. Sens. Jim DeMint (R., SC), Rand Paul (R., KY) and Mike Lee (R., UT) voted against H.R.1 due to the insignificance of the cuts.


Senator DeMint points out in his March 8th blog that a minimum of $100 billion can be trimmed through Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn’s elimination of duplicative programs alone! He goes further to say that $2.5 Trillion will need to be cut over the next 10 years.


Defining the parties involved can be put into simple terms.


The left can best be described as the older brother who opens up a credit card under his name, his father’s name as well as his newborn brother’s name.


The older brother, whose income falls short of his credit card expenses, has continued to spend at an even greater level to keep the promises he has made to friends as well as spending on lavish gifts to neighbors.


It has been years since he has been able to pay off his monthly balance and he has been going further and further into debt. He refuses to accept the fact that he doesn’t earn enough income to pay off the balance. He just continues to pay the minimum payment expecting to never have to pay back for his frivolous spending.


Older brother has convinced his friendly creditors to extend his line of credit. He points out that his credit is good – and that raising his credit limit is fine – as long as he can borrow against his infant brother’s future earnings. Younger brother – an unwilling co-signor to the account – is too young and has no voice in these matters.


The right is better described as the lenient father who has let his older son spend with his permission. He has been so lenient because he – like his son – enjoyed spending money he didn’t have. He also was concerned how he would be perceived if he didn’t spend lavishly. He gave in because he didn’t want his son to speak poorly about him to his friends.


Recently, after spending a long time going over the bills and speaking with other members of the family, the father realized that since he and his infant son are full co-signors on this line of credit a plan needed to be put in place to erase the debt. The father realized that it is immoral to pass the heavy burden of this growing debt on to the infant son. He realizes that he and his older son have been living beyond their means. Furthermore the family may indeed go bankrupt before the infant son grows up.


Attempting to forestall any further financial issues the father has finally put his foot down – albeit mildly – in regards to a further extension in the line of credit. As expected the older son is not happy about the father reigning in his line of credit and has thrown a tantrum.


Hopefully for our little brother’s sake, the father will stick to his plan no matter what the older son or his friends may say.


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