03 February 2010

The proposed federal budget for 2011

There is a wonderful interactive graphic today at the New York Times, displaying Obama's proposed budget.   The embed above is hard to read and static.  At the link you can mouse over the categories, zoom in to see details, and compare the figures for 2010 with those for the coming year.

Now... everyone wants to cut federal expenditures.  Correction: everyone SAYS they want to cut federal expenditures.  Republican candidates say so (until they get elected), Democratic candidates say so (until they get elected).  Every man on the street says so - except they don't want things cut that affect them personally.

The next time you're at a cocktail party or at the office water cooler, ask someone where the federal budget should be cut.  Typical answers would include "art projects," "research on fruitflies," "exploring Mars," "public housing," etc.  Those are all in the little boxes.  The very little boxes.

If you look at the figure above, the top center box is Medicare, which by law can't be cut.  The bottom left box is Social Security, which also can't be cut.  There are also other areas that are off-limits to even the most dedicated budget cutter.  So, the NTY offers a second graphic with those areas whited out:

Now - you want to cut federal spending.  Pick a box to work on.   Any box.  See where you can make a meaningful cut...


  1. they can't be cut; that doesn't mean they have to go up.

  2. Here's a crazy idea... let's eliminate ALL the little boxes. That'll add up ;)

    Seriously though, I'm with Wells. Lets freeze the budget until income catches up with expenditures. (And if we have too, declare bankruptcy and get rid of those pesky interest payments. Ok, maybe not just yet)

  3. It looks like my hard drive. Sorry, just defraged last night.... actually it probably wouldn't hurt the budget to do a little defragging of its own.

  4. That "can't be cut" is bullshit. Those are the programs that ought to be cut and the ones that give the most money to people who don't deserve it or actually need it. But they're also the people with the most power to rob from the public with a united voting bloc, so their welfare is politically untouchable.


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