Bush Budget Battle

The final Bush budget is out for FY 2009 (though not on paper, notes The Hill), and the criticism is already flying. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi spoke ex cathedra for the Democrats in Congress with a statement issued this morning.

Democrats reject the misplaced priorities of the President’s budget, which once again is a step backwards for our nation. The Democratic-led Congress will offer a budget that takes America in a New Direction, making critical investments to strengthen our economy and create jobs, helping Americans struggling with the high costs of health care, energy, and groceries, and working to restore fiscal responsibility.

This is the America we find ourselves in: a spendthrift Republican President and a Democrat-led Congress ostensibly urging fiscal restraint. Interestingly, Speaker Pelosi seems afflicted with the disease, often found in futurists and trend-mongers, of speaking of her ideas as Proper Nouns. If she said she merely wanted to take America in a new direction, we would all be suitably unimpressed with a reliance on the vaguest of political cliches. Knowing, however, that she supports a budget that takes us in a New Direction (TM) changes things entirely.

Our Vice President Wayne Crews is also weighing on what an expensive pet our federal government has become, though is his case, he’s focusing on the dog that didn’t bark:

While the awesome scope of spending in the 2009 federal budget causes ample distress, the unbudgeted, and mostly hidden, costs of complying with tens of thousands of government rules is perhaps worthy of more alarm. Regulatory costs mount each year, yet unlike congressional approval of new programs or taxes, few mechanisms hold lawmakers accountable for the costs imposed on us as consumers and business owners.

To focus just on the actual spending in the Bush plan still leaves us dizzy with large-figure vertigo. What exactly is $3.1 trillion, anyway? To put things in perspective, allow me to make a few comparisons. For that much money, you could buy 2,066,666,666,667 bags of Brach’s St. Valentine’s Day “conversation hearts” at CVS. That’s approximately 37,206,000,000,000 ounces of chalky candy fun. Based on a serving size of 15g per person, that would be enough candy for 70,266,666,666,678 people, which means that since 7% of the U.S. is diabetic and another 15% probably just don’t like candy hearts, you could actually cover a population of 86,428,000,000,000. I hope that makes things clearer.