Monday, April 20, 2009

Obama orders Government to save $6 - Well, the equivalant of six dollars

Hey Barry, If we would have known you were going to do such an impressive job of cutting costs, we wouldn't have bothered holding all those tea parties. You're quite the administrator. Keep up the good work! (sarc)

Obama's latest budget-tightening effort hardly makes a dime's worth of difference
from Yahoo Finance
by Andrew Taylor and Calvin Woodward,
Associated Press Writers
Monday April 20, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Cut a latte or two out of your annual budget and you've just done as much belt-tightening as President Barack Obama asked of his Cabinet on Monday.

The thrifty measures Obama ordered for federal agencies are the equivalent of asking a family that spends $60,000 in a year to save $6.

Obama made his push for frugality the subject of his first Cabinet meeting, ensuring it would command the capital's attention. It also set off outbursts of mental math and scribbled calculations as political friend and foe tried to figure out its impact.

The bottom line: Not much.

The president gave his Cabinet 90 days to find $100 million in savings to achieve over time.

For all the trumpeting, the effort raised questions about why Obama set the bar so low, considering that $100 million amounts to:

--Less than one-quarter of the budget increase that Congress awarded to itself.

--4 percent of the military aid the United States sends to Israel.

--Less than half the cost of one F-22 fighter plane.

--7 percent of the federal subsidy for the money-losing Amtrak passenger rail system.

--1/10,000th of the government's operating budgets for Cabinet agencies, excluding the Iraq and Afghan wars and the stimulus bill.


Obama's marching orders to the Cabinet on Monday were less than meets the eye. Many of the savings he asked them to achieve are already under way and are included in the calculation.

"It's always a good sign when the president is talking about savings," said Marc Goldwein, policy director of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan group that advocates fiscal discipline.

"It's valuable as a symbol," he said, "but $100 million is just not going to cut it."

Republicans were quick to point out that borrowing costs for February's stimulus package will on average cost almost $100 million a day over the next decade.
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