Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cut, Cap, and Balance Made Personal

The House of Representatives passed the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” Act, which Brian Beutler says (if it became law)

would slash federal programs deeply, and restrict dramatically the government's ability to do anything constructive for the country.

And I think Brian has this right. But going over Federal budget numbers might not quite drive my point home as to what should rightly be called Duck, Dodge, and Dismantle. So let me recast Jay Carney’s point by an analogy to a family in Manhattan struggling to make ends meet. The husband is making $70,000 (gross) a year on his primary job and is considering part-time work that would pay him an additional $30,000. The wife in addition to taking primary care of their two children – who both have medical conditions that cause them to spend $2000 a month on medical care – works receiving $50,000 a year. If the husband took the second job, their $150,000 in gross income would net $120,000 after taxes or $10,000 a month. While that might seem like a nice income – this is Manhattan and their apartment runs them $4000 a month, and they spend $1000 a month on food, $1000 a month on other necessities, and $1000 a month on entertainment.

The husband just happens to be a Republican and really does not understand why he needs to take this part-time job. After the wife – who just happens to be a Democrat – lays out the simple arithmetic of their budgetary situation, the husband replies by arguing that they could just reduce their spending by 20 percent. The wife – having counting to ten so she doesn’t scream in front of the kids – asks the husband where do they cut spending. After all, it is the husband who wants to stay in their Manhattan apartment and insists that they not cut back on the entertainment budget. She then points out that reducing the food and other necessities budgets by any feasible amount is not going to come close to making ends meet if the husband chooses not to take the part-time position.

Well – I guess the husband might suggest that they eliminate their medical spending but he should be forewarned that divorce attorneys in Manhattan are also expensive.


Anonymous said...

If they are making 150K then they are among the very rich who should have their taxes raised.

TheTrucker said...

There is no hook on these people's butts that makes them live in Manhattan. It is probably the case that the husband is a shyster of one ilk or another that drains money out of the economy via insurance, finance, or real estate. Why not move to Mississippi and live on a lot less? Maybe he could get a real job fixing the roads and the bridges. OOPS!! I forgot! Real jobs don't pay worth beans.