“Just the Facts Ma’am” – Part 2b

Sergeant Joe Friday - near the end of his investigation of the FY10 budget stink

======== Dummmmmmmmmb da dumb dumb Dummmmmmmmmb da dumb dumb Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmb! ======== The story you are about to read is true.  Facts are facts.  Congressmen and Presidents are generally shortsighted, self-serving, cowards whose top three job priorities are to get reelected, to get relected, and  . . . . to get reelected.  ========= It was the evening of Saturday, 2 October 2010 – the second day of the federal 2011 fiscal year (FY11).  The chief in Los Angeles had sent me to Washington DC to discover the facts about the FY10 budget. What I had discovered so far made all of the District of Columbia stink with self serving motivations and voter apathy.  As the LAPD officer with the DCPD interviewing the DUI CI CPA with the MD in STDs at the OTB on K Street, three things had become clear: First, the federal government, during the FY10 fiscal year had collected, from all sources, a total of about $2.33326 trillion. Second, it had spent approximately this identical amount, $2.2568 trillion, just on non-discretionary spending alone – things like: ·         Social Security                                                    ($754.1 billion) ·         Medicare                                                             ($457.8 billion) ·         Medicaid                                                             ($289.7 billion) ·         Other mandated spending programs                ($755.2 billion) o        Unemployment and Income Security          ($257.7 billion) o        Food and Nutrition Assistance                      ($  95.1 billion) o        Housing                                                          ($  57.0 billion) o        Education (mandated)                                  ($148.6 billion) o        Federal Retirement and Disability                ($122.3 billion) (NOT included in Social Security) o        Miscellaneous Mandates                               ($  74.5 billion) Third, it had spent approximately $1.2432 trillion on discretionary spending – things like: ·         Defense                          ($847.2 billion) ·         Interest Paid on Debts  ($196.2 billion) ·         Transportation              ($  92.0 billion) ·         Protection                      ($  53.4 billion) ·         General Government    ($  24.7 billion) ·         Other Spending              ($  29.7 billion) Actually, the information contained in this third point had been conveyed in the afternoon, as the CI and I sat on a bench on the north side of the National Mall and watched the sun set behind the Lincoln Memorial.  I had made my normal inquiries into the details of each of these categories, such as: Q: How much is spent on non-military, non-postal service, federal employee wages, salaries, and benefits? A: In excess of $60 billion Q: How much is spent on federal building leases, renovations, utilities, custodial services and maintenance services? A: In excess of $60 billion Q: How much do you believe that President Obama wants to cut out of the federal budget during FY11? A: Approximately $60 billion Q: If the Republicans, with their Tea Party agenda, garner a majority in the House, Senate, or both in the forthcoming elections, how much do you believe that they will want to cut out of the federal budget during FY11? A: In excess of $60 billion, but less than $100 billion The answers were getting monotonous, so I figured that I was missing something that the CI wanted me to deduce on my own.  What was clear is that the federal government had greatly overspent its income.  A little mental arithmetic convinced me that the federal deficit was near $1.2 trillion. There seemed no use in trying to trim spending by $60 billion, when the deficit in FY10 was $1.2 trillion and when the CI had indicated that the deficit in FY11 was currently estimated to be $1.6 trillion.  That’s like peeing in the ocean. I did recall that Exxon, arguably the world’s largest non-governmental business had a gross income of about $53 billion on net revenues of $383 billion.  Our federal government, with over 1.4 million non-military, non-postal employees dwarfed Earth’s largest oil company.  Incredible! Really, $60 billion is only 5% of 1.2 trillion!  What were Obama, the Republicans, and the Democrats all thinking? If the CI was correct, then we have an idiot for a President; and we were on the road to electing a bunch of cowards to Congress. Then it hit me.  If our representatives were to balance the budget without raising taxes, then they had an infinite number of choices between two extremes. On the one hand, they could cut all discretionary funding, a little more than$1.2 trillion, while leaving all non-discretionary funding untouched. On the other hand, they could cut the $1.2 trillion deficit out of non-discretionary funding, while leaving all discretionary funding untouched.  This latter option would eliminate more than 53% of all mandated disbursements. After chatting with the CI about these thoughts, I could tell that he felt his job was done.  I would enter these conclusions in my reports, knowing that neither was either practical or realizable.  However, I had seen the light. This nation was in serious trouble.  From what I could tell, during FY10, it had overspent its revenues by 55%.  Our total national debt was approaching our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  This put America on the same plane as many third world countries. It really didn’t matter what the details were.  A huge chunk of spending had to be eliminated from federal operations, soon. As the twilight developed, there was only one topic left to discuss with the CI regarding balancing the federal budget.  “What do you think about raising taxes to cover this deficit?” I asked. A moment passed.  The CI was looking across to the old Smithsonian building. “Think about this, Leonard.” he began.  “If we take a married couple, earning $75,000 each, who declare a total taxable income of $131,000, the federal government is going to levy over $25,000 in income taxes on them.  Now, chances are this couple will NOT be saving anything, especially if they have children.” “That means they spend it all.” he continued.  “If we take away $15,000 in mortgage payments from what the feds leave this couple, then that means they subject themselves to about $10,000 a year in sales taxes, assuming the average aggregate rate of City, County, and State sales taxes has now been raised to the range of 8% to 10%.” “Furthermore,” he drawled, “their State will probably take about 4% of their declared federal AGI.  That means another $5,000 in income taxes.  In addition, they will probably owe about $3,000 to $5,000 in property taxes on their house.  I’ll just leave out all the other taxes that they probably pay, especially gasoline taxes.” “Add that up for me.” he barked, now more animated since the cold was settling in. “Sure.” I said.  “Let’s see, $25 K plus $10 K plus $5 K plus $5 K is $45,000.” “And if my division is correct, that’s exactly 30% of everything this couple makes.” the CI said as he got up.  “Good luck raising tax rates, Buddy.” I got up with him; and we started walking towards the Washington Monument. “What about if they earn less money?” I asked. The CI seemed to be shivering so he picked up the pace, both physically and fiscally. “OK.” he said.  “They both earn $40,000.  Their AGI is probably about $61,000.  Uncle Sam takes $8,500.  Their State takes another $2,500. Let’s say that they make $12,000 in mortgage payments and that their property taxes are $4,000.  That means they spend the rest subject to sales tax.  That’s. . . errrrrrrr. . . ummmmmmm. . . another $5,000.” I couldn’t believe how fast the CI’s mind was working. “Now, add THAT up, Cop.” he hissed through his chattering teeth. I was ahead of him, just barely.  “That’s about 24% of their income.” “Correct, Flatfoot!” he gunned out.  “And, if a couple earns $500,000 a year, and doesn’t save anything, then it’s easy to calculate that they will likely pay 40% of their gross in taxes.” “Geeze!”, I said, winded.  I stopped. The CI disappeared into the night. It was cold.  I reached into my coat pocket for a lighter and my cigarettes.  I stood there, lit one up, and inhaled. Then I threw it down on the ground and squashed it underfoot.  There wasn’t going to be enough Medicare around to take care of me when I contracted lung cancer. ======== Dummmmmmmmmb da dumb dumb Dummmmmmmmmb da dumb dumb Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmb!

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