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President's Ponderings: Trouble finding holes in the belt?
 

By Edward Luttrell - President's Ponderings Blog (4/2/11)

  APRIL 4, 2011 --

Congressional efforts to pass a budget that reduces the deficit for 2011 – the fiscal year which ends September 30 – would be humorous if you and I were not on the hook for the out-of-control spending. After watching the last Congress fail to pass a budget and the current Congress continuing to fund our nation through short-term spending bills, the big question is if anyone is willing to act like a grown up.

The original 2011 budget was estimated to have a $1.27 trillion deficit. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) now projects a deficit of close to 1,500,000,000,000 dollars. There are a whole lot of zeros in that number!

The House of Representatives is arguing to cut $61 billion and the president and Senate are proposing smaller cuts. It seems that our government doesn’t want to cut the budget too much, and every proposed cut or reduction has its vocal critics.

Using the CBO revised projection of a deficit of close of $1.5 trillion, we understand that every day since October 1 our national government spent a little over $4 billion more than we took in. That means the $61 billion in proposed cuts amounts to about 15 days of the deficit spending and that still leaves our government with the money we actually pay in taxes. 

Few Americans haven’t tightened their own budgets in the past two years. Many of our families still have someone unemployed or only working part time. I think that this is a time to put partisan politics aside and make some hard and thoughtful choices. If we search for only programs that no one uses, we will never get the spending under control until it is far too late.

The 2008 budget had a deficit of $458.6 billion, which was a historic high. To argue that the current $1.5 trillion deficit – at about three times the 2008 high point – cannot be reduced by about 4 percent without devastating effects is absolutely ludicrous. 

A growing national debt will have devastating effects on every American. I want every elected official to work to avoid the pending disaster that is not too far down the road. If you punt the issue down the field once again, I have a hunch that I will not be the only voter who remembers. I believe that the American voters will reward those who work to reduce the deficit with thoughtful choices, no matter how hard those choices are.

Just like millions of other Americans, I am working to reduce my personal debt and tightening my own belt, and we expect Congress to follow our example.

 
 
 
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