Imagine that you have $14,000 in credit card debt. Pretty hefty amount right? I mean, you consistently spend more than you make every month, and this figure just keeps getting bigger and bigger every year.
As you think of ways to cut your spending, you say to yourself, I think it would be fun to go to the movies tonight. It’s just $19 and in the big scheme of things, $19 won’t make a dent in my $14,000 credit card debt.
Is that smart? (ok, I’m leading here) No, not in my opinion. You might see where I’m going with this.
You = America
Credit Card Debt = US Budget Deficit
Movie Tickets = NASA’s Cost
America is in $14 trillion of debt, with the big-ticket items including Medicare/Medicaid, social security, defense/wars, and the interest on the debt itself. NASA is just a really small piece of the pie, costing only $19 billion dollars for 2011. This might sound like a lot, but it’s less than one percent of the Federal Budget. In fact, if you applied the $19 billion to the $14 trillion, it wouldn’t put a dent in it (just like the example of you going to the movies with $14,000 in credit card debt).
Now I’m not suggesting that we cut NASA, but that’s just it…what do you cut when you’re trying to get out of debt? Wouldn’t you cut back on your entertainment, eating out, or other activities that keep adding up?
I know there are plenty of other things to cut (see a few of the big ticket items above) and that a lot of jobs would be lost if we cut NASA. Unfortunately, when cuts are made, people will be affected and no one likes to suffer because of change or a cut in the budget.
I’d love to hear your opinion about areas that would be better to cut. Most importantly I wanted to emphasize how you can’t be successful in paying down debt if you’re not able to cut the small things. That’s really the bottom line when you’re getting out of debt. If you’re faithful in managing the small ticket items, the big ticket items will come more naturally.
So what do you think? Is NASA and other small budget items something that should be nixed from the budget, or should we focus on the big ticket items?