Debt and Deficit

I had watched with hopeful interest the budget negotiations recently undertaken by our elected officials. They failed. No real change. We are still spending way more than we take in. Having discussed this with a friend at lunch, he suggested my earlier analogy about radiation might fit this problem as well.

Say I have a cattle ranch. A large herd of healthy cows. They do what cows do. Input and output. Every morning the stalls get shoveled. Outside behind the barn is a mountain of what get shoveled. Think of what get shoveled today as the deficit. Think of the pile of all the previous shovelings as the debt.

We just watched as our elected officials, on both sides, argued about how much of today’s deficit was going to be added to the debt mountain. The size of the mountain is unchanged, mind you. Just the buckets of today’s shoveling were under discussion. In the end, the bucket loader, full of today’s deficit was stopped just before it was upturned on the pile. The House and Senate ran out with some different sized teacups and scooped up various amounts, saying such things as, “This is a big cup, if we take this amount out, it will surely make a real difference!”

Finally they agreed on a certain teacup, and removed that spending, waving the bucket loader onward to dump the rest on the debt mountain. “Look,” they exclaimed, “All this spending removed, we have done a wonderful job.”

During the time it took them to decide to remove that particular cup of debt, the cows were still at it in the barn. The amount they removed was less than the amount produced during the time it took them to discuss it.

And that, boys and girls, is your lesson about how government works in the 21st Century!

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
–Albert Einstein

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