Deal or no deal?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Last week, a heated and lengthy debate over cutting spending in Washington turned into an all-nighter on Friday night before a deal could be crafted between the two opposing parties over which federal programs to cut and which ones should be saved.

Each side was posturing and trying to corner the other side into caving into public pressure. Then, right before the government would be shut down (we’ll get to that later) a deal was magically agreed upon around 11:00 p.m. Eastern time.

The deal? Roughly $38.5 BILLION in cuts to the federal budget this year. Sound like a lot, right? NOT. The projected deficit for the 2011 federal budget is nearly $1.65 TRILLION.

So here is how a “cost cutting deal” works in Washington. The administration submits a budget $1.65 TRILLION over what we can afford and then agrees, kicking and screaming, to reduce that to $1.27 TRILLION and everyone pats each other on the back saying they saved the day. What they didn’t mention in all of the champagne toasts was that we, the taxpayers, are borrowing $6 BILLION each and every day to pay for our debt.

So, the deal was made last Friday and it goes into effect tomorrow. That’s six days, at $6 BILLION a day, of additional debt being handed down to my children and me. THANKS GUYS! Therefore, while the “savings” deal waits to become official, we racked up another $36 BILLION in debt. What’s the real amount we “saved?” Get ready…a whopping $2.5 BILLION! So, this Friday, when we borrow another $6 BILLION, all the savings will be gone!

And this $2.5 BILLION was saved only to avoid a government “shutdown.” Besides the military (who always deserve to get paid for defending our freedoms), how many of you would notice if the federal government stopped working for a day or two? Anyone? Would public schools stop teaching? Would police stop protecting? Would the water and sewerage stop running? No, no, and no.

Of course, there is a role the federal government serves; however, threatening the American people with a government shutdown to save a net $2.5 BILLION is laughable.

By the way, the numbers listed above sound huge and scary; yet, the national debt is currently sitting at $14 TRILLION and climbing. They better keep wheeling and dealing because it will take a ton of $2.5 BILLION dollar deals to add up to $14 TRILLION. The world, the holder of our debt, is cautiously watching as we argue over pennies while the dollars are staring us in the face.

The last bite…

In honor of the local Louisiana seafood farmers, producers, distributors, and chefs out there, I devoted an entire meal to the fruits of their labor. Saturday night, after attending the French Quarter Festival to watch my wife, Courtney, perform as a “Victory Belle.” I grabbed a bite to eat at Grand Isle Restaurant with Chris Cancienne and Aimee Brady. We had boiled shrimp, baked oysters topped with cheese, tasso and crawfish and finished it off with baked fish topped with lump crabmeat. You could taste the freshness in the seafood, and it made me proud to be from Louisiana! I give Louisiana seafood 5 (out of 5) crumbs!

Buddy Boe, a resident of LaPlace, is a former parish administrator and is well known on the local political (and food) scenes. His column appears every Wednesday in L’Observateur.