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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Read My Lips...Cut the Budget!

20 April 2009Editor,
U.S. News & World ReportDear Editor:
You report that President Obama today "challenged" his cabinet to "cut the budget by $100 million" ("Obama to Cabinet: Cut $100 Million from Budget," April 20). What courage. A President who proclaims the importance of making "hard choices" calls upon his government to trim away a whopping one thirty-six-thousandth of its projected expenditures for the year - or, alternatively reckoned, one twelve-thousandth of its projected budget deficit.To put this budget "cut" in perspective, suppose that the typical American family, earning $50,000 annually, plans this year to run a budget deficit proportionate to the deficit that Uncle Sam will run. Such a family would plan to spend $75,000. Now suppose that this family, seeking to signal its faux-commitment to financial prudence, promises spending cuts equal, in proportion to its budget, to the cuts announced today by Mr. Obama.
This family would declare - surely with much fanfare - that it will reduce its planned expenditures by $2.09! Perhaps it might promise to survive the year with one less gallon of gasoline or with one less cup of coffee.

Who would take such a gesture to be anything other than audaciously insulting sarcasm by the chronically irresponsible?


Donald J. Boudreaux Chairman, Department of Economics

George Mason University Fairfax, VA 22030

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