Thursday, March 17, 2011

Continuing Irresolution

My frustration with this whole continuing resolution mess in Washington is summed up by freshman Rep. Lankford (R-OK). In an interview with Radio America, Rep. Lankford defends the continuing resolutions with the statement "We're cutting 2 billion per week". Well, let's do a little math, shall we?

The first number we need to know is 14 trillion. That is the commonly accepted total budget deficit right now (not that I believe that, but for the sake of argument we'll use that number). The second number we need to know is 104 billion. That is 2 billion per week times 52 weeks. That is the amount that will be cut from the deficit if Rep. Lankford's pace continues. So what percent of 14 trillion is 104 billion?

Let's start with an easy one to show the formula. What percentage of 100 is 50? We all know it's 50%, but how do we do the math? Well, we make a fraction. The bottom number (the denominator) is the number we want to determine the fraction of, in this case 100. Then we put the other number on the top of the fraction (the numerator). So in this case, the fraction is 50/100, which can be said as "fifty over one hundred" or "fifty one-hundredths".

All you sixth-grade math students can see that we can reduce this fraction by asking which numbers can be evenly divided into both numerator and denominator. I can see several: 2, 5, 10, 25, and 50. I'll take the largest to eliminate steps, so 50/100 becomes 1/2, or "one half". We all know that "one half" is fifty percent.

It's easier to show it in decimals, so we would express our 50/100 in decimal notation as .50 - fifty one-hundredths. To express any decimal number as a percent, you multiply it by 100 which is the same as moving the decimal point two places to the right, which gives you 50. - that is, fifty percent. This is how we calculate batting average, save percentage, winning percentage, all kinds of things.

So using this formula with our actual numbers, the equation is 104,000,000,000 (that's our 104 billion) over 14,000,000,000,000 (14 trillion) which comes out to .007428571429 according to my handy-dandy Casio calculator (and Microsoft Excel confirms it). Multiply that by 100 to move the decimal point for our percentage, that gives us .7428571429 percent. Let's just round that off and say .74 percent.

Folks, that is three-quarters of one percent. Less than one percent. Or put it another way: for every $100 of deficit, Rep. Lankford and his colleagues are cutting seventy-five cents.

All this wrangling, all this speechifying, all the meetings and arguments and proposals and interviews - all for a lousy .74%. This is beyond appalling, beyond disgusting, and bears a passing resemblance to a great heaping mountain of male cow excrement. Only much, much worse.

Rep. Lankford, let me remind you and your fellow freshmen why you were voted into office last November: GET CONTROL OF WASHINGTON'S EXCESSIVE SPENDING!!!! With this kind of crapola you are spewing publicly, you are showing yourself to be no better than the one you replaced. YOU ARE NOT DOING YOUR JOB, SIR! GET WITH THE PROGRAM OR WE'LL FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL TO REPLACE YOU IN 2012!

Let me help you out. You have set your goal way too low, obviously, so let's give you a new goal by taking your original yearly goal (104 billion) and make it your weekly goal! That would lead you to cutting 5.408 trillion by this time next year. That's over one-third (38.6%) of the deficit in one year! THAT would be a much more worthy goal for you!

I'll go even farther for you. Here's a list of programs that could be cut completely from the budget:

Dept. of Education
Dept. of Commerce
Dept. of Interior
Dept. of Homeland Security

And here's a list of those that could be cut drastically:

That's just a start, Congressman. I'm sure you can come up with some more.

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