One small step for mankind....

President Obama's call for all of us to (cough) tighten our belts has garnered savings of $100M. Of course any numbers of hundreds of government handouts to homeowners, banks, car makers, home builders, and Congress itself in the past half year has already negated this savings by many multiples but please - we call it window dressing and it's time for an Oval Office signing. I declare this 0.006% Day! Frankly I assume just the administrative costs alone to manage this 'cost savings' through the overbloated python of federal government cost at least $20 million, so let's call it a net savings of $80 million. So maybe it was 0.009% Day in reality.

Just imagine if your private company was losing money at the rate of the US government, and in a call to arms the owner says everyone band together, we need to keep this ship afloat! It's time to cut the fat and 0.006% has to go! I say that facetiously to show you what a parallel universe your government exists in... and why your son and daughter need to grow up to be a government worker. Preferably federal - since fat being trimmed is not in the dictionary.

I believe this type of savings also reduces each American household's share of the deficit down from $550,000 to $549,998.87. Boo Yah! One extra McDonald's dollar menu item for me tonight - I'm splurging! [May 29, 2009: In 1 year, US Taxpayer on the Hook for $55,000 More per Household]

Let's take a closer look at our how nation (warning: facetious comment ahead) finally looked in the mirror and decided enough was enough... we no longer will steal from future generations and be subservient to our overseas creditors. We finally will act like responsible adults; with 49 more similarly sized programs we can shave off 0.3% off the federal deficit. That's right folks - if we can find 49 more savings of this size..... 1/3rd of 1% of our deficit will disappear into the ether. Yes it is true that in the time it took to write this much of those savings were eaten up by interest on the national debt but please don't kill the mood of 0.006 Day with facts.

  • With the budget deficit soaring toward $2 trillion, the Department of Justice has figured out how to play its part: double-sided photocopying. (heavens - thank you for the sacrifice) [savings $573,000]
  • There are other acts of national sacrifice. (hmm the WSJ is getting cheeky here) The Forest Service will no longer repaint its new, white vehicles green immediately upon purchase. (white is the new green)
  • By increasing the number of soldiers traveling on each airplane chartered for rest-and-relaxation leave, the Army will save $18 million in the next few months. The Navy will save $5 million a year by deleting inactive Internet accounts to configure their computer networks more cheaply. (ummm... I'd love to see the math on that last one)
  • The Office of Thrift Supervision, a division of the Treasury, identified unused phone lines costing $320,000. (the irony of that division name is beyond comment )
  • Three months ago, President Barack Obama ordered his cabinet secretaries to find $100 million in budget cuts for the current fiscal year to emphasize the point that he, too, was serious about belt-tightening. They responded with $102 million. That is 0.006% of the estimated federal deficit.
  • The list of 77 spending cuts, which the White House is calling the $100 million savings challenge, reflects the vastness of government -- and its vast inefficiency. Hundreds of millions of dollars in savings were found simply by casting around for areas to trim.
  • Still, the reductions barely scratch the surface. Some of these cuts are so small they would be a rounding error of a rounding error in the federal budget, said Brian Riedl, a federal budget expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation. They also show how unbelievably outdated the government is, he said. I mean, emailing around the daily press clips instead of printing them out and distributing them? That should not have been necessitated by a presidential order. (tell me more about this email thing... it sounds fascinating - please send it to me in printed format of course, 1 sided only)
  • By emailing some documents instead of printing them out, the Department of Homeland Security will save $318,000.

And let me stand up and clap for the Department of Labor ...

  • Only one cabinet office proposed actually eliminating a program. The Department of Labor says it will disband the nearly 40-year-old Employment Standards Administration. With it goes an assistant secretary of labor, two deputy assistants and an administrative office.

Not to put any job losses in a good light but can you imagine how angry these 4 people must be when they see what the other department offered in relation to their job losses? Here people are losing their jobs while the Dept of Justice decides double siding copying is actually a viable option.

  • A Labor Department official downplayed the move. The ESA's main activities (enforcing workplace regulation and workers' rights rules) are alive and well, the official said. They will just have a few less bosses to report to.

To put this all in perspective...

  • If the administration produces $100 million in savings every 98 days for the rest of Mr. Obama's term, the savings will total $1.5 billion, or three days of interest on the federal debt.

Of course the article ends with catcalls from Republicans errr... fiscally conservative Republicans who just presided over 8 years of the largest government increase in our history. I won't bother you with the quotes - empty words mean little.

Any real transformation will mean real pain for someone (and by someone, I mean everyone): major tax hikes and/or major spending cuts. We have circus mirrors on display instead. Can we cut Pelosi's weekend trips home on private jet? I know, I know - sacred cow.