No matter the reference source, whether it’s Wikipedia, Dictionary.com, The Free Dictionary, or just good old-fashioned Merriam-Webster, the definition for the word “budget” is basically the same. For those U.S. Senators and U.S. Congressmen who happen to be reading this column, let me refresh your memories, or perhaps clarify the meaning for the first time: Budget - an estimate, often itemized, of expected income and expenses for a given period in the future…a plan of operations based on such an estimate. In the hands of a politician, I certainly realize this definition leaves a great deal of wiggle room, especially when many of these “folks” (an Obama catchword) are lawyers. However, somehow the average citizen clearly understands the idea of money-in and money-out. Therefore, when the expenses exceed the income, the normal and natural thing to do is either try to increase the income, or decrease the expenses. What a brilliant concept! And it’s easily understood, unless you’re a United States Senator or a United States Congressman. Consequently, instead of viewing our current so-called government shutdown as a catastrophe, it should be embraced as an opportunity.
There are very few people who would argue with the notion that the U.S. government has become extremely bloated. As an example, originally started under President Jimmy Carter in 1977, the shelf life of the Department of Energy was anticipated to be just a few years, and yet decades later, it’s grown to 13,814 employees. Under our current government shutdown, however, a total of 8,471 Energy Department employees are viewed as non-essential. Logically, those workers viewed as non-essential should be downsized, retired, strategically altered, or whatever they call it according to the current government lexicon.
Currently, we have boots on the ground in more countries than prior to 9/11. In addition, we continue, at the benefit of the military industrial complex, to produce military hardware in order to fight a so-called enemy that still communicates by passing paper notes, farms on a day-to-day basis, and then sends their kids to the U.S. for an education.
This current government shutdown certainly provides the perfect opportunity to do some much-needed budget cutting, and that includes reevaluating the seemingly untouchable Defense Department.
Productivity is demanded daily in the corporate world, and common sense is demanded daily in everyday family life. Yet, when people become United States Senators and United States Congressmen, both productivity and common sense apparently go out the window — it must be something in the Washington, D.C. air.
Regardless, it’s definitely time to seize this moment as a prime opportunity to “live within our money, not within our means” and truly create a real federal budget.
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