Home > Economy, Humor/Satire, Politics > Budget Games & Government Shutdowns

Budget Games & Government Shutdowns

I’m not about to weigh in on who’s right and who’s wrong but I am perfectly happy to point out that we appear to be on the verge of a government shutdown because our two major political parties cannot agree on budget cuts that will have virtually NO impact on the national debt.

The Optics

Here’s the national debt as of approximately 12:00 pm, Eastern time, Wednesday, April 6, 2011:

 $14,243,931,564,217 ($14.2 trillion)

Democrats have agreed to cuts in the amount of roughly $33,000,000,000 (33 billion).

Republicans are looking for cuts in the amount of roughly $40,000,000,000 (40 billion).

Now let’s put these numbers next to each other so you can see the difference:




That’s the visual reference that shows quite clearly how far either of these proposals is from the reality of erasing much of anything of the national debt.

The Math

Here’s the mathematical reality of the proposed cuts against the debt.

Republicans are talking about cutting the debt by the following percentage:


Democrats are talking about reducing the deficit by:


The difference the two parties are fighting over amounts to this much of the national debt:


Here’s how much of the national debt remains if Republicans get their way:


Here’s how much of the national debt remains if Democrats get their way:


The Big Fight

Let’s put it another way.  If someone owed you $14,243 and they offered to pay you back $33, I imagine you’d say that was a rather anemic effort, no?

If a second guy owes you $14,243 and they offer to pay you back $40, I imagine you’d think that was pretty much as ridiculous as the first guy, right?

Now imagine the 1st guy saying to the second guy, “Hey, $33 is all I can afford right now.” The 2nd guy gets his back up.   “Hey, I’m way more responsible than you, I’m paying more back.”    

Next thing you know, both of these guys are getting into a huge fight; fisticuffs break out, they tackle each other, tables and chairs get knocked over, there’s a huge scene and a cop comes to break it up.

“Alright,” says the police officer, “Stop it right now…what’s this all about anyway?”

The two combatants dust themselves off and mutter at the same time, “Seven bucks.”

The cop looks at both of them with disgust.  “So you each owe $14,243—and you just got into a fist fight because one of you wants to pay back $33 and the other $40?  Really?  Are you serious?  How old are you guys, 9?”

The answers are:

No, these people are not serious. 

And they’re 6.

  1. Linda Deviney Sieh
    April 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Robert, this is a wonderful illustration of how ridiculous our political system (started to say has become) continues to be. Thanks for the laugh!

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