Tuesday, November 23, 2010

High-Speed Rail Funding Forfeiture And The Deficit: Can You Say "Drop In The Bucket?"

A reader sends this analysis of and commentary about the impact on the federal deficit should Scott Walker return Wisconsin's $810 million in high-speed rail funds to the US Treasury.

In a nutshell, it's a per-capita Wisconsin contribution of $3.

I'd say all the jobs the train could have created and assisted were worth far more.

[By the way, here is a national story about deficits and math. Great minds are definitely on the same page (spreadsheet?) today.]

I couldn't reproduce the reader's spreadsheet in its nice formatting, but here's the gist of it.

Estimated 2010 U.S. Federal Budget Deficit:

2009 Estimate of US Population;

2009 Estimate of Wisconsin’s Population:

Per Capita Share of Federal Budget Deficit:
($1.6 Trillion / US Population) $5,212

WI Share of Federal Deficit
Population x Per Capita Budget Deficit #: 
5,212 x 5,654,774 = $29,472,682,088

WI Resident Per Capita Share of Federal Budget Deficit:

Federal Stimulus Money Awarded for national High-Speed Rail (via 2009 Stimulus, ARRA):

WI Per Capita Share of National High-Speed Rail:
$8 Billion /WI Population $1,415

Federal DOT Discretionary Grant Award for Wisconsin- Milwaukee to Madison High-Speed Rail Project:

WI Per Capita Share of WI High-Speed Rail Project:
($810 Million / Population):

Estimated 2010 U.S. Federal Budget deficit if Wisconsin’s rail award is “returned” for “deficit relief:”

Per Capita Share of Federal Budget Deficit after “return” of Wisconsin Rail award:
($1.599190 Trillion / 307006550) $5,209

WI Per Capita Federal Budget Deficit Reduction after “return” of Wisconsin Rail Award:

New WI Share of Federal Deficit
Population x Per Capita Budget Deficit #:
5,209 x 5,654,774 = 29,455, 717, 766

Estimated 2010 U.S. Federal Budget deficit if Wisconsin’s rail award is sent to IL, CA, NY or another state:
The reader then explains...

The Impact on the Federal Budget Deficit of High-Speed Rail in Wisconsin
The Horrifying (and True!) Cost of High-Speed Rail in Wisconsin 

That’s right, Wisconsin. Each of us lead by our brave elected Republican representatives Scott Walker, Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri, Paul Ryan, Reid Ribble, and Sean Duffy will save the Federal Budget Deficit three dollars if we give back our $810,000,000 of stimulus funds to the US Treasury.

This is according to a joint press release by the WI GOP Congressional delegation that estimates the Federal Budget Deficit to be $1,600,000,000. ($1.6 Trillion)

Each of us is in the United States is currently on the hook for $5,212 of the budget deficit today.
However, if Wisconsinites pull together, and give back our $810,000,000 grant from the Federal Government we can cut that number down to $5,209 for every American.

Trading $810 Million for three dollars for every American is the kind of sacrifice only a person with true conservative Midwestern values could make.

Thank you Scott Walker, et al, for having the courage to promote this thoughtful and truly remarkable plan to send the money back.

I know I will sleep better with the knowledge that my share of the Federal Budget Deficit and every other American’s share will plummet from $5,212 to $5,209 as a result of giving back $810,000,000.

America, after Wisconsin drops this generosity bomb on you we have just one question. What will you do with your $3.00 of deficit relief?

If as our GOP delegation can’t just give our money back, they have suggested that Wisconsin would like to return our train money even if it is used for rail projects in other states like Illinois.

The $8 billion from the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act amounts to a contribution of $1,415 dollars from every Wisconsin resident for rail improvement projects across 30 U.S. states.

Wisconsinites should feel especially encouraged that if we give our money back, and it still gets used for rail projects in other states, our contribution will not drop below $1,415.


Unknown said...

Tax increase? TAX INCREASE!!! What miserable Democrat is responsible for this? Don't he get it??? What, Scott Walker proposed it? You're not shittin' me? Scott Walker??? No shit.

jpk said...

While I agree with the general spirit of the findings, I can't overlook a problem in the analysis.

Reducing the deficit by returning the train funding won't save a mere "three dollars." It will save $3 PER CAPITA. It's an important distinction.

Overall, though, is this a drop in the bucket? Sure, I'll agree with that.

Dave said...

It may be a drop in the bucket, but the entire bucket is composed of a bunch of drops.

We will never be able to solve the deficit problem if every little bit of spending is approved because it's just a drop in the bucket.

I'm not sure stopping the rail project was a good idea, but your argument doesn't hold water if you want to trim the deficit.

James Rowen said...

To Dave: The jobs and clean air improvements tip the scales towards the project's overall value.

Penny wise, pound foolish.

Anonymous said...

Dave we can't cut enough drops to balance the budget, to cut things and have an effect we would have to cut the giant water falls that are defense,social security or Medicare.

SocratesChildren said...

Social Security is adequately funded for many decades. The Feds borrow from SS and SS has a pile of IOUs from the Feds (good faith and all that). If we cut SS, we will cut a source of dollars for the Feds. And it won't affect the deficit a penny. But it will push the Feds to borrow from foreign countries.