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Obama seeks $100M in government 'efficiencies'

 
 
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 12:47 pm
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090420/ap_on_go_pr_wh/obama


Ok. I'm confused. While I agree with Obama that if there is $100M in waste, it needs to be eliminated, I'm confused about when I'm supposed to care about a measly $100M?

I mean when Bush was in office, $75M was A LOT of money, and every time they asked for another $75Mfor the wars I wanted to puke and I said so here. And some icing on the cake, a lot of those spending bills had even more millions tacked on in pork barrel projects.

Now Obama's in office and we let 3 billion (yes, 3,000 millions) in pork barrel projects slide under the rug in the last spending bill. But we're told not to worry, it was only 2% of the bill.

But then we get pissed when AIG spends 165M (which was less than 1/10 of 1% of the money we gave them)

But it's all honkey dorey when TARP/TALC/etc ends up costing us 1.3 trillion (yes, 1,300,000 millions)

And now we're supposed to be excited that Obama has told the government to find a way to save $100M out of a budget of 3+ trillion (yes, 3,000,000 millions). There's a speech/announcement/article on this measly 0.0033% of a budget reduction?

When do numbers actually matter?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 8 • Views: 4,846 • Replies: 95

 
Cycloptichorn
 
  0  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 12:58 pm
@maporsche,
Not at this small level, that's for sure.

But; you do have to start somewhere. Like the bonuses for AIG, I think the symbolism is what matters here as much as everything else. Gotta get people started cutting the small stuff to get action on the big stuff. Hopefully.

Cycloptichorn
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 01:23 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
Like the bonuses for AIG, I think the symbolism is what matters here as much as everything else. Gotta get people started cutting the small stuff to get action on the big stuff.

I don't think "symbolic" efficiencies are going to do it. And I disagree that taking care of the small stuff will get action on the big stuff. It seems to me that actions on the big stuff should come first, because that's where the biggest payoff is.

We've all (I assume) heard the phrase "penny wise pound foolish" and "spend a dollar to save a dime" and this is exactly what those sayings refer to.

Why should any of the people in charge of these $100 million budgets care about efficiencies, when people in charge of $1 billion budgets routinely lose (as in "the money just disappeared and we can't account for it") amounts greater than their entire budget?
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 01:25 pm
@DrewDad,
I'll add that I don't mean that wasting $1 million should get a pass just because someone else wasted $10 million.

I mean that we need tighter controls across the board.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 01:31 pm
@DrewDad,
Quote:
It seems to me that actions on the big stuff should come first, because that's where the biggest payoff is.


But, the people in charge of these things don't want to cut the budgets. At all. Each person will have some life-or-death scenario showing how budget cuts in their department will mean the end of the world. So it just isn't feasible to start with the big stuff; nothing will actually happen.

Gotta work your way up to it... a lot of times, the 'big payoff' is unattainable as the first move. I am, like the rest of you, not impressed by 100 million in cuts. But I'm more impressed by that then by no cuts at all, which is what we have become used to.

Cycloptichorn
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 01:34 pm
@DrewDad,
Agreed with everything you've said.

We've lost BILLIONS in mis-management of the TARP funds. We're throwing billions more at the auto industry to be wasted. We spending billions like they're thousands and now I'm supposed to care about where the State Department buys their pencils?

I'm pissed that Obama even care's about this right now. We've got the guy hemorrhaging billions at the financial and auto industries; how about directing more of your time over there. He decides to allow 2-3 billion in pork barrel projects in the last spending bill because it was "yesterday's news" and he "just wanted to move on".

It's not even worth Obama's time/energy to deal with this. It's as bad as that reporter asking Obama about the A-Rod steroid deal a few months ago.

The guys seriously got his fiscal priorities fucked up.
Cycloptichorn
 
  0  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 01:38 pm
@maporsche,
maporsche wrote:

Agreed with everything you've said.

We've lost BILLIONS in mis-management of the TARP funds. We're throwing billions more at the auto industry to be wasted. We spending billions like they're thousands and now I'm supposed to care about where the State Department buys their pencils?

I'm pissed that Obama even care's about this right now. We've got the guy hemorrhaging billions at the financial and auto industries; how about directing more of your time over there. He decides to allow 2-3 billion in pork barrel projects in the last spending bill because it was "yesterday's news" and he "just wanted to move on".

It's not even worth Obama's time/energy to deal with this. It's as bad as that reporter asking Obama about the A-Rod steroid deal a few months ago.

The guys seriously got his fiscal priorities fucked up.



If only he could listen to your clarion call... what,exactly, is it that you think Obama SHOULD be doing instead of what IS being done?

I sometimes wonder if you guys realize that these problems are, yaknow, complex.

Cycloptichorn
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 01:39 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Let's start with finding out where the **** the TARP money has gone?

Oh, and let's keep Obama from signing any more spending bills, stimulus plans, etc, until he can figure out how to TRACK what the hell is going on.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 01:45 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
I sometimes wonder if you guys realize that these problems are, yaknow, complex.

Does complexity mean it should just be allowed to continue? To complicated for you to understand, so let the experts take care of it?
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 01:46 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
But, the people in charge of these things don't want to cut the budgets. At all. Each person will have some life-or-death scenario showing how budget cuts in their department will mean the end of the world. So it just isn't feasible to start with the big stuff; nothing will actually happen.

But Obama's in charge of approving the spending. He can make people cut budgets. He can make people account for the money.

Clinton did that. The Republicans shut down the government because he wouldn't sign the budget they sent. But Clinton won in the end.
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 01:55 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Is this the "but guuuuuyyyyyssssss, it's really hhhaaaarrrddd" defense??!!?
Cycloptichorn
 
  0  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 01:58 pm
@maporsche,
maporsche wrote:

Let's start with finding out where the **** the TARP money has gone?


I'm quite sure they know where that money has gone. They just haven't told you and I where it has gone. There are a variety of reasons why this would be, some nefarious and some innocuous. I too would like a detailed accounting of where this money has gone.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  0  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 02:02 pm
@DrewDad,
DrewDad wrote:

Cycloptichorn wrote:
But, the people in charge of these things don't want to cut the budgets. At all. Each person will have some life-or-death scenario showing how budget cuts in their department will mean the end of the world. So it just isn't feasible to start with the big stuff; nothing will actually happen.

But Obama's in charge of approving the spending. He can make people cut budgets. He can make people account for the money.

Clinton did that. The Republicans shut down the government because he wouldn't sign the budget they sent. But Clinton won in the end.


Sure; and he is making them do that. It remains to be seen whether or not he will do more of it; hopefully he will.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  0  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 02:04 pm
@maporsche,
maporsche wrote:

Is this the "but guuuuuyyyyyssssss, it's really hhhaaaarrrddd" defense??!!?


Nah. It's the 'drunk guy on bar stool' offense that you are positing. The solutions to the problems we face are not as simple as you would make them out to be, and your recommendations don't reflect a good understanding of this.

You are unhappy about the mess we're in, and that's fine; but you like to complain that things are being done poorly without much understanding of what you'd rather see in place of what is being done. Not compelling.

Cycloptichorn
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 03:36 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
I've found that often times the simplest solution is the right one. Not always the easiest one, but often the right one.

But that's besides the point. All I'm asking Obama to do is focus his time/energy on the larger issues. A 0.0033% budget reduction should never have had time to cross Obama's mind. That should have been handled by a much lower level staffer.

You know what could have had an much larger impact? How about following his campaign promise and not allowing any of those earmarks in the last spending bill.

That would have saved 3,000 times more money than this did, AND it would have had a much larger symbolic effect, wouldn't it?
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 03:36 pm
@maporsche,
maporsche wrote:

Is this the "but guuuuuyyyyyssssss, it's really hhhaaaarrrddd" defense??!!?

Ha Smile I was thinking that too. That argument either has to work both ways or fail both ways.

Anyway, while I applaud any move in the right direction (to cut wasteful spending), I am not impressed with anything measured in the millions. Even though I like Obama, I was a bit dismayed when I heard these numbers as well.

I'll be watching to see if he continues this process with larger numbers in the future.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  0  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 04:28 pm
@maporsche,
Quote:

You know what could have had an much larger impact? How about following his campaign promise and not allowing any of those earmarks in the last spending bill.


I don't believe that Obama promised to end all earmark spending; you are confusing him with McCain, who did promise that. I do think he promised to reduce it, however.

Quote:

But that's besides the point. All I'm asking Obama to do is focus his time/energy on the larger issues. A 0.0033% budget reduction should never have had time to cross Obama's mind. That should have been handled by a much lower level staffer.


I don't know why you think it wasn't handled by a low-level staffer. I doubt Obama personally crunched the numbers or even came up with the idea. He's just the publicist for a lot of stuff his admin does and will do in the future. That's what happens when the top dog is a good public speaker.

Quote:

That would have saved 3,000 times more money than this did, AND it would have had a much larger symbolic effect, wouldn't it?


Or, it would have set up inter-party fighting. Big time. Hard-line Dems will surely fight to the death for their pork, just like the Republicans did; and Obama couldn't afford to have the budget held up at this time, too new on the scene and in the middle of a recession/depression, over a few billion in earmarks.

Once again, this is a more complicated issue then you pretend it is.

Cycloptichorn
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 04:30 pm
@maporsche,
The reason you are confused is because Bush asked for $50 billion more for the Iraq war, not $75 million.

Quote:
Bush seeks nearly $50 billion more for wars
Gates says $190 billion is needed for armored vehicles, refurbished gear

MSNBC video
Bush seeks $50 billion more for war
Sept. 26: The White House plans to ask Congress to approve nearly $190 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008, increasing initial projections by more than a third. NBC's Mike Viqueira reports from Capitol Hill.


updated 4:18 p.m. PT, Wed., Sept . 26, 2007


WASHINGTON - President Bush and Congress are headed toward another showdown on war spending, this time sparring over nearly $190 billion the Pentagon said is needed to keep combat in Iraq afloat for another year.


If you want to really make pork the issue, more GOP congress members inserted pork than the liberals. Many republican governors also complained about the bailouts, but ended up accepting the money. The GOP knows how to make a lot of noise, but they are hypocrites when it comes to action.
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 04:32 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
I know Cyclops, being president is really, really hard.
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 04:35 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Laughing Laughing Laughing

Ok CI, I did mean to say billion. But this happened so many times over the 7 years of the war that I'm sure there was at least one spending request that asked for 75B.

I surely hope you won't let my typo distract you from my point.
 

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