So, if you live in the US, you've undoubtedly heard all about these budget cuts, as it's a big thing in our government right now. There are various plans kicking around, since apparently our government finally woke up and realized they'd have been bankrupt a long time ago if they couldn't cheat. (printing money, running a ponzi scheme, etc)
A lot of the number thrown around sound very large and impressive. Wow! 61 billion saved by the Republican plan!? That's a ton! There's a great video kicking around that really puts all of this in perspective. Unfortunately, it's a year old, so the exact demonstration isn't perfect. But a bit of visualization on your part keeps it relevant.
So, as you can see in that video, one stack of 5 pennies represents 2 billion. So in the exact demonstration, he removes 1/4 of one penny to represent 100 million in cuts. Well, cutting 61 billion using "draconian" methods, you would remove 30.5 of those stacks of pennies. Certainly, a good amount, but still a long ways from what is needed if we're serious about this budget.
So, what can be done? After all, we're cutting important programs using draconian methods as it is, just to cut this much. The impact to quality of life is already too high according to a lot of Democrats. We're cutting Pell Grants, Planned Parenthood, the Peace Corps, even Net Neutrality gets the axe. All this, to make it so we lose a little bit less. The 2011 deficit is projected to be 1.27 trillion. So all these cuts are providing ~4% less of a deficit. Wow! Sure sounds impressive, doesn't it? Oh yeah, and lets not mention the projected Social Security and Medicare unfunded liabilities (meaning money we've promised but don't have), that number was up to 107 TRILLION dollars as of 2009! That's 7 times(!) the size of the entire US economy.
So what's the fix? Cause...it sure sounds like we're screwed. Totally and completely. It's a good question, and I don't claim to have the answer. Although, my thoughts are that the US is in for some really really rough years. Cuts aren't cutting it. It's going to take much higher taxes, many more cuts, and likely, an axing of the great Ponzi Scheme we Americans like to call Social Security. When I pay my FICA taxes, I just assume that to be money lost, because I'll be truly amazed if I ever see it.
Put this on top of us pissing away our manufacturing, failing in some other areas...the US is sick. And I don't see the government health care bill coming along to save it. That's disappointing to me, because I love my country. It really did start off as a great idea, and it is a good place to live, no doubt in my mind. And eh, maybe I'm just worrying more than I should. But it does seem to me that we have a few very large elephants in the room which are being ignored, and it can't be doing us any good.
So, apologies for the wall of text, and I guess I did swerve slightly off topic...but this is a topic I can really run with. Maybe you guys can too? Let me know what you think in the comments.