Roger’s Rules

Obama discovers fiscal restraint, slashes budget

The world was amazed yesterday when President Obama announced that he was cutting way back on government spending. Unveiling his modest, cost-cutting budget of $3.4 trillion — it looks more impressive if you can see the zeros:

3,400,000,000,000

the President also announced that he was cutting $17 billion of government spending, a whopping 1/2 of 1 percent of the total! Some of the savings:

• Abolishing an Education Department attache’s post in Paris, at a savings of $632,000 per year.

• Doing away with a $142 million program to help states pay to clean up abandoned mines.

• Slashing the acquisition budget for army Dixie cup holders from $145 million to $14 million.

• Trimming Congressional staff budgets by 50 percent, and freezing Congressional salaries for 5 years

• Instituting new “stress tests” for failing schools and entirely eliminating federal subsidies for those who fail the test.

• Slashing almost in half a benefits program for the families of slain police and safety officers from $110 million to $60 million.

OK, OK: only some of these cuts are real–can you tell which ones?

Meanwhile, Obama’s new budget calls for only the most modest new spending programs:

• A mere $1 billion for child nutrition programs, partly to pay for more food inspectors.

• A trifling 100 percent increase in the IRS enforcement budget, an initiative headed up by Tom Daschle with advice from Timothy Geithner.

• A spartan increase $178 billion to help preserve jobs of unions whose contributions to the Democratic party exceeded $100 million in 2008.

• $687 million for special “green” golf courses in districts where Democratic committee chairmen reside.

(Again, it’s possible that I mis-transcribed some of these items: can you tell which ones?)

At the same time, Obama was calling on rich Americans to share in the sacrifices necessary to bring about the Hope and Change ™ which he promised to impose across the land. Among the changes sought:

• Beginning in 2010, salaries in excess of the minimum wage would be subject to ORT (Obama Redistribution Tax), amounting to 50 percent surcharge on any income above the poverty line.

• Airport security fees would more than double.

• Federal taxes on gasoline also will double, except for welfare recipients, who will receive vouchers of up to $250 per month to pay for the cars that state governments are making available to anyone who can demonstrate that he has not held a job for at least 18 months.

• Capital gains for rich Americans (defined as anyone whose adjusted gross income is $50,000 or more) will be taxed at the FSR (feel-good sacrificial rate) of 90 percent.

(Once again, there just may be some mistakes in that list.) Republican critics of the administration were in disarray as this evidence that Obama wasn’t speaking idly when he spoke of bringing about a New Era of Responsibility. How proud we all are!