Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dear Congress: A Letter about Budgeting

Dear Congress,

Capitol Hill - Washington, DC
Image Credit: VinothChandar on flikr

Seriously? You just inched by with enough to cover the costs of keeping FEMA running until Friday, and now you're facing another government shutdown in just 7 weeks? Stop. Just stop. First things first. You need to admit that you have a problem. And no, playing the blame game on Republicans or Democrats isn't going to get anyone anywhere. As a group you need to come together and admit that you are all addicted to spending - other people's money that they don't even have . Once you've come to terms with that, it's time you learned some budgeting basics:

  • Make a plan and stick to it. You made a budget. Trying to slash those future savings you already agreed on is exactly that - NOT sticking to a budget. 
  • Calculate the actual income you will be receiving - not $$$ you plan to get by taking more money from the wealthier citizens of this country, or even by cutting taxes to allow more people to flourish in the economy (though this would be a start at fixing some problems . . . -Source: Basic Economic Principles.)
  • Cut the excess. You may have not noticed, but this economy is kind of having major problems right now. The US' credit rating has been downgraded for the first time, like, ever. All this stuff is kind of a big deal. So, yeah. You need to cut out the fluff. Just like anyone else in hard times (not to mention the 9% who are unemployed . . .) who has to learn to not go out to eat, or shop for things they can't afford, or go on vacation, or have any extras really. This means major inconvenience, but that will just have to do for now.
  • Zero-based Budget Time. Order all the things you need/want to spend money on by priority. With that income you calculated, spend each dollar down the list. If you run out of money before you get to end of the list - or if something comes up that you just really want/need to spend the money on - don't go around asking for more money. You go back to the list, and shrink and nip and tuck the other areas until you do have enough for the other areas. Even with the adjusting, if you're still out a few billion, or trillion . . . you're going to have to pass on some of those things - even if you think you need them. Tough luck. That's life.
  • Throw any extra money (*cough*) at your colossal debt. Yes. Work on paying off all your debt. The whole sticking to the budget and cutting the excess will be helpful in this process, among other things - but I wouldn't want to make this more complicated or utterly confusing than this already is for you. 
For more clarity and reinforcement, watch this:

or this:

    Oh, yeah. One more thing. Regarding this ridiculous line from the op-ed piece in the NYTimes:

    "Republicans should think of the broad American public, rather than catering to the extreme elements of their base, the next time they push the government to the brink."

    Budgeting isn't extreme. It's RESPONSIBLE.  Any other way - in my opinion - is a crime.

    Sincerely,

    A Concerned Voting Citizen

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