Philip Greenspun on the Federal Deficit

Using the analogy of a single family income, Greenspun illustrates how much (or little) Congress’ proposed spending cut will save.

We have a family that is spending $38,200 per year. The family’s income is $21,700 per year. The family adds $16,500 in credit card debt every year in order to pay its bills. After a long and difficult debate among family members, keeping in mind that it was not going to be possible to borrow $16,500 every year forever, the parents and children agreed that a $380/year premium cable subscription could be terminated. So now the family will have to borrow only $16,120 per year.

The United States government seems to spend in accordance with the “rules of American consumerism”. That is to say, spend more than you make and shrug your shoulders when the bills come due.

I wonder how many members of Congress spend more than they make in a year. Speculation aside, it may be painful for a while, but a lot more spending cuts need to be made now in order to make things better later.

How does the saying go? “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Thank you, Rita Mae Brown, for the insight.

[via Mark Hurst]