19 Mar 2011

Congress Slashes the Budget

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John Hinderaker, at Power Line, again, puts current congressional efforts to reduce the federal deficit into perspective.

[I]f you do the math, what part of a Big Mac Extra Value Meal would a $6 billion budget cut represent?

The arithmetic is pretty simple, due to the extensive nutrition information that McDonalds makes available online. A Big Mac Extra Value Meal has three components: a Big Mac, a large order of french fries, and a medium soda. The McDonalds site tells us that a Big Mac has 540 calories, a large fries has 570 and a medium Coke has 210, for a total of 1,320 calories.

Meanwhile, the federal budget is currently around $3.8 trillion, which means that a $6 billion cut represents one 633rd of the total. What would be an equivalent cut in a Big Mac Extra Value Meal?

One variable is not readily available online; that is, how many french fries are there in a large order? To answer that question, I went to a nearby McDonalds at lunch time, paid for a large order of fries, and counted them. There were 87. (I counted fries regardless of size, but did not count the hard bits in the bottom of the container.)

This allows us to complete the calculation. If there are 570 calories in a large order of fries, and 87 fries per order, each french fry, on the average, contains 6.5 calories. One 633rd of the total calorie content of a Big Mac Extra Value Meal is 1,320/633, or 2.1 calories. That equals almost exactly one-third of an average sized french fry.

So, consider: if you were to go on what the Democrats consider a starvation diet, and “slash” your calorie intake to exactly the same degree that the Republicans’ $6 billion cut has “slashed” the federal budget, you would do the following. Go to McDonalds and order a Big Mac Extra Value meal. Eat the Big Mac. Drink the Coke. Eat 86 of the 87 french fries. Carefully take the last fry and bite off two-thirds of it. Put the remaining one-third of one fry back in the bag.

If you seriously think that you have just “slashed” your diet, you are a Democrat. Most likely, an overweight Democrat.

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Imagine the following “heated argument” at some household:

Republican Husband: You know dear, we’re in serious financial shape. Our spending has been increasing four times as fast as our income. We have more debt than we can repay. I don’t know how we’re going to be able to pay for our retirement. We’ve simply got to cut our budget.

Democrat Wife: You’re right dear, and my plan is to cut our spending this year by 3 one-hundredths of one percent.

Republican Husband: I’m sorry, but that’s wholly inadequate. I propose cutting our spending by 2 tenths of 1%.

Democrat Wife: No way! I can’t possible make those kind of reductions. Think of the suffering. It’s just not necessary. One tenth of a percent tops – and we keep borrowing.

Republican Husband: Hah! I’m going to the mat on this issue. Just try me!


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