A Dull Knife

Discussion in 'Politics' started by DamnYankee, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. DamnYankee

    DamnYankee No Neg Policy

    Apr 2, 2009
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    This sums up my sentiment fairly well. Very little to show for the talk of spending cuts in Washington.

    President's Critics See A Dull Knife
    Budget Watchers Say Cuts Are Just Symbolic

    By Philip Rucker
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, April 24, 2009

    These tough times call for sacrifice. So the Obama administration has embarked on a belt-tightening plan that sounds, to some veteran federal budget watchers, like fodder for a Jay Leno monologue.

    The Education Department will eliminate a Bush-era "education policy attaché" based in Paris -- the one in France -- whose annual salary, housing allowance and business expenses exceed $630,000. Employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs will forgo their training junkets to hot spots such as Nashville and satisfy themselves with videoconferencing.

    The Department of Homeland Security has started buying its supplies in bulk and -- to the surprise and delight of bureaucrats -- discovered it's much cheaper that way.

    This is not exactly the revolution in government efficiency that President Obama has promised. Nonetheless, he and the agencies trumpeted the changes, staples of any money-conscious organization, this week as examples of how they intend to cut $100 million over the next 90 days to try to trim a budget deficit projected to reach $1.4 trillion next year.

    Experts said the cost-cutting measures will do little to restore fiscal responsibility and are at best a symbolic early move. At worst, they said, the savings, which amount to a fraction of 1 percent of Obama's $3.6 trillion budget, are so obvious and picayune that by making them a major focus of his first Cabinet meeting, the president may have given the impression that he is not serious about controlling spending.

    "You're cherry-picking the base of the tree on stuff that is not innovative," said Paul C. Light, a scholar of federal bureaucracy at New York University. "Purchasing in bulk? Wow, that's a bold idea! Teleconferencing? Holy moly! None of this stuff is the kind of bold sweep you're hoping Obama will bring to the management of government."

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2009

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