So, after a decade of rising deficits, this budget asks Washington to live within its means, while at the same time investing in our future. It cuts what we can’t afford to pay for what we cannot do without. That’s what families do in hard times. And that’s what our country has to do too.


The President’s Weekly was the preface for the release of the 2012 federal budget Monday. One thing I was not looking forward to was hearing lawmakers frame an explanation of the federal budget in middle class household budget speak.

How many households have yearly budgets with guaranteed income even when holding outsanding debt? How many household budgets cover 300 million people? Other than a bolt lock, alarm systems, and some other little items, how much goes into home defense? When was the last time someone had to cut their contribution to “future” plans (retirement, tuition fund, household savings) because a rainy day came sooner than expected?

The federal budget does not fit in the household and personal budget frame narrative.

When it comes to budgets, present and future have to hang in the balance. How will decisions made today affect seven generations from now? Wouldn’t the environment take priority in that kind of philosophical or values framing? Then again, someone should have thought of that a generation ago.

Is there an O. Henry short story frame to explain the impending cuts? Do we call cuts “sacrifices”? Does the budget mention “poverty” or “the poor”? Will they be serving franks and beans in the White House and Hill cafeterias? Will we hear Della’s sniffles in the halls?

By looking at the increases and cuts in the President’s budget plan one can see the “priorities” of the administration while addressing the deficit for the next 2 years (and perhaps a 2nd term):

Green energy

The Republican majority in the Congress doesn’t think the cuts in the President’s budget are deep enough. The Washington Post has assigned parts of the President’s budget to their staff to break down the numbers by agency.

Here are my brief notes based on the analysis of the Washington Post
President Barack Obama’s 2012 Federal:

The Winners

  • Department of Energy gets a 12% increase
  • Department of the Treasury gets a 4 % bump
  • Department of Transportation gets a whopping 68% increase
  • The National Science Foundation gets 6%
  • Department of Education gets an 11% increase
  • Homeland Security gets .7 to check your everythings at the airport and other screening procedures
  • Food and Drug Administration a $4.4 billion bump
  • CIA/Intelligence gets a 4% bump
  • This ‘n’ That

  • Health and Human Services – seems discretionary spending comes down a peg.
  • Justice Department gets some 2 and 4 percent increases while local and state federal programs get cuts for detaining undocumented people who have a criminal record (And that includes parking violations, I’m sure.)
  • Veterans Affairs gets 9% more than in the 2010 budget, but some construction plans get cut.
  • Department of State will get an increase especially to focus on Iraq and cuts will be in assistance to Europe and Central Asia, reductions in bilateral assistance funding for international organizations and peacekeeping, and migration and refugees.
  • Defense – the base budget gets a bump but the war spending gets a cut.
  • The Survivors
    Department of Interior – no change


  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agribusiness, rural home loans and wetland conservation programs are being asked to bite the bullet.
  • Housing and Urban Development – $300 million cut from communitgrants (housing and economic development) for low-income neighborhoods; $172 less for new housing for seniors and persons with disabilities.
  • Department of Labor