$100MM In Government Cuts? Get Serious!

You have to assume that when Team Obama announced that the President would convene his cabinet and challenge them to cut $100MM from their budgets, they were thinking people would be impressed. Government doing its bit, setting an example, showing that they can be good managers and not just spenders of OPM.

So they are probably surprised at the derision with which their announcement was met. People like me who've worked all their lives in what Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr has called "the dreaded private sector" have always suspected that government managers live in a different world, one where prices can be increased in bad times, where budget baselines ALWAYS grow, year over year, by at least 3-5%, where the consumer of your services -- the taxpayer -- can be treated with indifference, since they cannot bring their business to a competitor.

President Obama's laughable idea of managerial frugality only confirms our worst fears. We're laughing because we work in smaller organizations than the federal government that have been cutting, cutting, cutting -- way beyond 1/36,000 of our company's budget.

Corporate managers across America are used to getting challenged to cut costs every year. Just one example: One of the Silicon Valley's largest and most important concerns, Cisco, committed last year to cut its expenses by over $1 billion over the following year. By all accounts, they are getting there.

From what I hear, people are Webexing instead of flying, eating in rather than out, reducing everything down to cafe hours and office supplies. Cisco is a company of about 60,000 employees, with total revenues in excess of $50 billion. By any measure, the federal government is several orders of magnitude larger -- and yet Cisco's frugality measures are several orders of magnitude larger than the federal government's.

There are similar examples here in the Silicon Valley, but only one makes the point: The President's challenge to his top managers belies either an ignorance of what frugality is all about, or is a disingenuous PR announcement that shows contempt for people's intelligence.

A while ago on this blog, I suggested that the President challenge his cabinet to reduce their administrative budgets by a percentage -- say, 10% -- and that they implement a hiring freeze to stop the growth of the federal workforce, to ensure that stimulus dollars go to local communities, not growing DC bureaucracies. Do more with less -- that's what good organizational managers should always try to do.

Instead, we're told that one cabinet secretary figured out how to save a million or so buying office supplies in bulk from Staples. (Guess the Bushies never captured that low-hanging fruit!).

C'mon Mr. President, set the bar higher than that.

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 A recent critique of the stimulus bill from Townhall.com.. a conservative site:

$20m for a baseball museum

$6.1m for jet hangars

$20m for zoo renovations

$1.5m to reduce prostitution

$4.8m for a zoo exhibit

$1.5 for a park ride..


So, you can see the hypocrisy. Those items add up to $53m, yet you claim that $100m is laughable. When the budget comes out, small-time expenditures are used as examples of wasteful spending. But when Obama moves to cut any amount whatsoever, it's painted as a futile gesture.

This constant logical inconsistency is why it's hard to take current GOP criticisms seriously.

No, its Obama's hypocrisy

Obama gleefully signed a $410 Billion spending bill last month that had $8 Billion dollars in earmarks . . .saying that it was "last year's business", and an "insignificant amount".

The inconsistancy  and hypocrisy may be lost on you, but it wasn't lost on the "mainstream" media:


Now he wants us us to think he is some sort of fiscal belt tightner by asking his cabinet to save $100 million dollars in a televised meeting.

 So today's lesson from team Obama:

To be seen making a public display of cutting :$100 million is important in a symbolic way. Symbols are important.

To be seen yucking it up with a South American dictator has no symbolic importance at all. Symbols mean nothing.

Got it.

100mm on a 3 trillion dollar

100mm on a 3 trillion dollar budget...... flea on the elephants rear end

criticize everything, SOMETHING will stick

As ray said, conservatives made the same arguments about minuscule expenditures in the stimulus package, now cutting 100 mil doesn't mean anything. Making reflexive arguments that contradict previous positions is a daily ritual for conservatives. What's good yesterday is bad next week, simply to score some cheap points politically. It makes you all the more upset when the rest of the country trusts Obama more on all these issues than any conservative, House, Senate, or otherwise.

It always baffles me what conservatives consider good spending. The war in Iraq, tax cuts centered on millionaires and billionaires equals 'good spending'.

Spending on our crumbling infrastructure, neglected under conservative governance, aid to states so they don't have to raise regressive taxes such as a sales tax or property tax is seen as 'oppressive spending'.

It's why conservatives continue to marginalize themselves. It's a daily comedy show watching conservative pols and pundits make these arguments. The base loves it, democrats and independents recoil from it.

So now AP and ABC news are conservative?

You are baffled because you miss the point entirely.

Rant on about what you think conservatives think. Enjoy the comedy show! I know I am.

I'd say they'd raised marginalizing themselves to a high art!

On another thread it was pointed out that Congressman Barrett (R), who was booed at one of the Tea events, has a 98% ACU rating and is now to be hung in the public square for one apostate vote.  Who needs the Dems to campaign against them when the faithful will work feverishly to oust someone who agrees with them 98% of the time? 

Contradictory?  Every day the party just looks more schizophrenic and irrational.  When was the last time most people you knew were looking for the most irrational candidate to vote for?

No, you miss the point. 

No, you miss the point.  That's why you're in the minority and just can't figure out why most people agree with Obama.