The current budget debate in perspective

TaxingTennessee has a nice graphic that shows a little perspective on the budget debate going on in Congress.

To give a little intellectual perspective to go with the visual, let’s apply this to an average citizen’s budget. We can actually do that pretty easily by scaling down from billions of dollars to simply dollars, and monthly instead of annually.

Imagine you have an income (after taxes) of $2174 a month – not unreasonable for an lower middle-class family with no children, or a middle middle-class individual (based on my monthly income).

You’re spending $3819 a month – $1645 more than you take in. You’re getting this extra money from loans, and the monthly interest on these loans is an additional $207 a month.

You and your wife are arguing about how to reduce your monthly spending. Your wife wants to cut $61 a month, you don’t. You compromise on cutting $33 a month.

So, you end up spending $1612 more than you take in each month, rather than $1645. You have reduced your deficit spending by 2%, and your total spending by only 0.86%. In 8 months, you will be over $19000 deeper in debt – and your budget cuts only reduced that by $396. On a presidential time-scale (8 months) that translates to over $13000 additional debt and a debt that’s only $264 less than it would be otherwise. And notice, I’m not even adding in the interest on that borrowed money.

It’s nothing more than a drop in the tsunami, folks. Our elected “representatives” are simply not serious about cutting spending and reining in the debt, much less actually getting rid of it. Out of our total spending, 43% is money we don’t have. Right now, in order to even start catching up at anything like a reasonable rate, we would have to cut government spending nearly in half (or double the government’s income – i.e. taxes – which would have ruinous consequences and probably isn’t even possible), yet the proposal to cut spending by less than one percent is enough to threaten a government shutdown and become a major election issue.

We are screwed, folks. Our country simply cannot continue this way indefinitely, and probably not even for much longer.


(h/t SayUncle)

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