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HURT: Give the jogging shrimp a bike, i.e., how to cut federal budgets
Only in Washington could a bunch of people get together and struggle over how to trim excess fat from a $3.6 trillion budget.
These people gladly take your money and spend it watching ocean shrimp "run" on treadmills, growing algae and building the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere."
Yet after years of lawmakers in both political parties spending more of your money than they are taking in and after decades of stealing from your retirement accounts, these people go blank. They just cannot seem to think of any place to cut.
"Discretionary" spending — that which is not automatically dedicated to entitlement programs such as Social Security — is a small portion of the overall spending, they now tell us. The real driver of the trillion-dollar deficits they racked up are tied to overgenerous entitlement programs they promised.
So, now they say, it is a waste of time to cut spending in these paltry areas such as bridges to nowhere and jogging shrimp.
Well, fine to tell us. All that spending sure seemed mighty important when they sold their political souls to cram all their offensive political favors into spending bills in the first place.
It's every bit as hoary as President Obama mounting the barricades over any hint that Congress might not raise the dastardly debt limit — even though he, himself, opposed the very same thing six years and $7 trillion ago.
Struggling to grapple with cuts of less than 3 percent to federal spending (which has jumped more than 60 percent in the past decade) the White House went right for the jugular. It cut tours for the public.
That's right, you people are not paying your fair share, so you cannot visit the White House. Get out!
But with the advent of the Internet, it hasn't taken people long to find plenty of nonsense buried in the stacks of federal spending worth cutting. Since so-called sequestration began, the government has advertised more than 2,600 federal job openings, for instance.
Fox News found dozens of employees in the White House earning more than $100,000 a year. I am sure if just one of them loses their job, you taxpaying suckers out there would really feel the pinch.
Then there is the $1.5 million study to explore why lesbians are fat, and the quarter-million-dollar study to examine photographs in National Geographic.
Here's another clue for something to cut. Turns out you are paying $1.6 million to subsidize freeloaders in Pittsburgh who are too cheap to buy their own bikes. Under the "bike-share" program announced this week, freeloaders and freeloading tourists get 500 fat, ugly, red bikes to ride around on — bikes that you paid for.
Meanwhile, all the congressional staffers and fat cats around here who spent all your money, stole your retirement savings and now can't seem to find anything to cut from the federal budget have a premium underground commuter train system (mostly paid for by you) yet still drive to work every day and enjoy extensive free underground and surface parking all around the Capitol (entirely paid for by you).
Why not just "repurpose" all those fat, ugly, red bikes away from the freeloaders in Pittsburgh and give them to the freeloaders here and make them pedal their sorry butts into work every day? It would fix but a tiny fraction of the damage they have caused, but it sure would be funny to watch them sweat a little for a change.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at email@example.com.
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