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How much does it cost?

August 3, 2009

Ever wondered how much the Obama agenda is costing us? I'm about to tell you, whether you wanted to know or not.

The Democrats in Washington are spending money like it's Monopoly money... wait, what am I saying? That expression doesn't work anymore, does it? They don't have trillion-dollar bills in Monopoly. They don't even have billion-dollar bills.

Cripes, we need to either update the game or find a new expression that works on Democrats.

One trillion dollars. Think about that concept for a second. What does it even mean? Before we can discuss the Obama agenda we need to understand a trillion dollars, and I'm not sure that's possible.

But let's try.

If Barney Frank paid one million dollars to a male prostitute every single day since before Jesus was born, it would NOT add up to a trillion dollars.

If Chris Dodd bought every single "cottage" currently for sale in Ireland, it would NOT add up to a trillion dollars, no matter how liberally you defined "cottage" and no matter which lobbyist provided the money.

If Charlie Rangel collected rent on every single beachfront villa in the Dominican Republic for twenty years, and didn't report any of it on his tax returns, he would NOT save a trillion dollars in taxes.

Shoot, this is hard. It's easy to see what a trillion dollars is NOT, but what is it?

Well, if you laid a trillion dollar bills end to end, you would have a strip of paper that reached the sun. You could make a paper rope and lasso Mars, with enough left over to lasso the moon and Venus, too.

Even after all that you'd have more than enough left to buy Ted Kennedy a floating car.

So basically, a trillion dollars is a lot.

Every so often I meet an Obama supporter who insists that everything the Democrats are doing was mentioned in the campaign last year, and Obama won the election, so he has a mandate for this crap. That's baloney and I can prove it.

Click to see the full-sized PDF version of this spreadsheet.  Save it, share it, there are no copyrights on plain facts. Obama's campaign promises, for purposes of this analysis, will be taken from a July 8, 2008, article in the Los Angeles Times and a February 14, 2008, online column posted by U.S. News & World Report.

They essentially agree in every particular, except U.S. News & World Report mentions Obama's intention to increase national service plans and foreign aid, while the LATimes doesn't.

In order to compare apples with apples, I took programs meant to be permanent and therefore expressed as annual amounts, and multiplied them by four to get the full four-year effect of one Obama term. Programs expressed as one-time costs were not multiplied.

(Hopefully this isn't too complicated. There are liberals who read this website and I don't want anybody's head to blow up.)

As you can see by the attached spreadsheet, during his campaign Obama listed $256.5 billion of new spending, which would have amounted to $625.5 billion over four years. Those are huge numbers. Huge. Those numbers are the reason so many people didn't want him to be president, because they are bankruptcy-type numbers. After half a century of increasingly socialist government policy, our nation was nearly at the limit of its borrowing capacity already - the idea that Obama wanted to add $625.5 billion of spending on top of everything else was frightening.

But the reality of the Obama presidency has dwarfed his campaign numbers. The bottom half of the spreadsheet shows actual legislation - either proposed, half-passed, or fully passed - and the costs of that legislation.

(My source for healthcare bill costs is here. Cap 'n' Trade bill here. Foreclosure-Prevention Act here. Stimulus bill here. Cash-for-clunkers here. Serve America Act here. Foreign aid increase here.)

From talking about $256.5 billion of new spending, we've seen actual legislation with $14,566.2 billion of new costs. Much of that is spread over ten or more years, and the Cap 'n' Trade legislation's price will be paid by taxpayers rather than added to government spending, but that's a distinction without a difference.

Whether the government spends it directly or makes you spend it, you pay the price one way or the other - unless you think a magic fairy is going to fly over and pay for all this stuff with pixie dust.

(Barney Frank isn't magic and he doesn't fly.)

By the way, these numbers don't include any of the Bailout money. That's a cheerful thought, eh?

To make this gigantua-normous fourteen-trillion-dollar number comparable to Obama's campaign rhetoric, I've taken the various programs and calculated the four-year cost of each piece of 2009 legislation. Where Obama was scaring responsible people by threatening to spend $625.5 billion over the course of four years, we're actually looking at $3,809 billion of new spending over four years.

Three trillion eight hundred nine billion dollars of new spending. Over just four years.

$3,809,000,000,000. Twelve times more dollars than the number of stars in our galaxy - that's the cost of Obama's agenda... so far. In a little over six months of being president.

If that doesn't tighten your sphincter, you need to see a specialist immediately.

(To demonstrate maturity, I will ignore the obvious opportunity for another Barney Frank reference.)


From Reno, Nevada, USA

August 3, 2009 - It's hard to comprehend numbers that size. This does help to put it in perspective though. It's important to understand that although the national debt doubled during the eight years that George W. Bush was president, it is expected to double once again during Obama's FOUR year term! Scary stuff. Can you believe that the interest payment alone on our national debt is currently over $300 billion dollars a year?!? Hello?? We're a bankrupt nation! Most people don't understand that although it doesn't hurt the government to print out infinite amounts of dollars through the Federal Reserve (since they get to spend it first and then tax the crap out of us) it does effect the citizens of this country who are going to be paying more for everything due to inflation. Not to mention the amount of money we are "borrowing" from China! Anyways, all this is to say that I totally agree with what you're saying here :) - Sam, Michigan

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