Republicans have a huge problem. They desperately want to be the party of fiscal restraint, but have no idea how to get there without losing even more of their dwindling piece of the electorate pie. The latest tactic employed by more senior members of Congress is to publicly go on the warpath for programs that really don’t make any sort of a dent in the budget what-so-ever, just so they can be on the record as “wanting cuts”. They are also not shy about “wanting cuts” to entitlements yet refuse to get specific about which ones. Doing so would risk being held accountable by seniors and the poor during the next election cycle.
Case in point. Eric Cantor recently lamented on twitter a $4M spend on IRS TV. Mitt Romney went way out on the limb with 100 times this amount, $445M for killing Big Bird and PBS.
Here’s where we need Ross Perot to step in with some PIE charts and explain to the American people what these suggestions actually mean.
Even Mitt’s commitment to defund PBS amounts to 0.014% of the 17 Trillion dollar federal budget. Maybe that’s what it is. Trillion is just too big of a unit to comprehend. Million, Billion, Trillion. What’s the diff?
I can’t even show the impact of this on the above chart because it would not be visible to the naked eye.
As the PIE chart shows, 60% of the budget goes towards Medicare, Social Security, and Labor, and 18% to the Pentagon. This is where the real meat is.
The dilemma they have is getting specific about the meaty parts. That’s tricky business. The usual tactic is to offer up vague proposals for spending cuts and then point the finger at the other guy for not having a specific proposal. Both sides engage in this.
I think the American people would be okay with the labor spend if we could actually have something to show for it. Where’s our Mt. Rushmore? Where’s our Timberline Lodge? Where’s our Hoover dam? I’m not seeing it or anything close to it. I understand Obama inherited a leaky ship and QE I and II were just about trying to keep the ship from sinking. But still, we don’t have much of anything to show for it and that’s unsettling and opens up the door for massive criticism about where did the money go?
I just wanted to take time out this morning and thank Eric and Mitt for their detailed suggestions and then see if I could put them in perspective with an actual PIE chart. Turns out it’s not possible.