Obama has requested his Cabinet tighten its belts, to the tune of … $100 million:
(AP) President Barack Obama on Monday ordered his Cabinet to find ways to slice spending by $100 million, but acknowledged it’s a “drop in the bucket” and said there’s a “confidence gap” that he needs to overcome.
Just back from a Latin America summit, Mr. Obama told the first formal Cabinet meeting of his administration that vast spending to combat the economic crisis was “the right thing to do.” But he also said taxpayers still need to know that every dollar they give the government is being spent wisely.
“We also have a deficit – a confidence gap – when it comes to the American people,” he told reporters. “And we’ve got to earn their trust.”
Mr. Obama said the $100 million would come from “efficiencies” in agency operations, and would be in addition to future cuts in programs that aren’t working.
Yet the red ink in the annual budget is currently in the hundreds of billions. He was asked if the efficiency saving isn’t just “a drop in the bucket”.
“It is,” he replied. “None of these things alone are going to make a difference. But cumulatively, they make an extraordinary difference because they start setting a tone … $100 million there, $100 million here – pretty soon, even here in Washington, it adds up to real money.”
The federal deficit for March alone was $192.3 billion, and $100 million would represent a minuscule portion of that sum, roughly one-twentieth of 1 percent. Mr. Obama in February brought forward a $3.6 trillion budget for the 2010 fiscal year, beginning Oct. 1, a proposal that would produce $9.3 trillion in deficits over the next decade.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said he applauded all attempts to cut government spending but insisted that a $100 million cut would only cover one day’s interest on Obama’s $787 billion stimulus spending plan.
I swear, you can’t make this stuff up.