Illustration Of The Federal Budget
This past week I received a letter from my Congressman, Doug Lamborn (R-CO). This particular mailer was addressing the topic of the federal budget, so you’ll have to excuse the irony of a congressman using federal funds to send out a piece of campaign material to talk about the government’s poor use of finances. This particular letter, however, had a very helpful illustration for the current state of our nation’s budget. Often times the discussion of billions and trillions can get bogged down with all those zeros, so in order to make the concept more palpable, the Congressman removed eight zeros from the budget to illustrate the government’s spending habits, making it more similar to a household budget. This is what it looked like:
New Debt: $16,500
Outstanding Debt: $142,710
Budget Cuts: $385
These numbers reflect the federal budget for 2011, where the government brought in 2.17 trillion dollars, only to spend 3.82 trillion, bringing the total national debt to 14.27 trillion. Suddenly the recent budget cuts of 38 billion dollars don’t seem that impressive.
Practically the entire country recognizes that something needs to be done about our nation’s financial state. And obviously it is the difference of opinion about what exactly needs to be done that is causing all the controversy on Capitol Hill. But a good step for all of us in the cheap seats would be beginning to understand what the numbers we are talking about actually mean. For that reason, I think this one bit of government funded junk mail may actually have been worth the price.