As some of you may perhaps have noticed, I write a weekly (Thursday) column for Salt Lake City’s Deseret News. I also co-author, with my friend and colleague William Hamblin, a semiweekly Saturday column for the same newspaper.
These columns almost invariably range between 715 and 740 words in length.
Quite often, when I’m writing them, I run too long, and then I have to prune things. It always amazes me how easy it is to prune one’s first draft. I can almost always reduce an 850-word column down to acceptable length without cutting into the muscle of the piece. My first reaction, when I’ve finished writing my column and see that it contains far too many words, is always to think “Oh no! There’s nothing I can trim.” But then I settle down and cut some unnecessary conjugations and adjectives, verbose phrases, and etc. And, very soon, I have it: a column that fits within the desired parameters.
Which, naturally, makes me think of the United States federal budget. Our national debt is pushing $17 trillion dollars. We’re adding $3.9 billion to that debt each and every day. Right now, every man, woman, and child in America owes more than $53,000.00 on it.
Federal expenditures last year totaled roughly $3.6 trillion. That’s approximately 23% of all expenditures within the United States.
I find these figures virtually incredible. I also find the evident lack of concern that some seem to feel about them utterly appalling.
I’m absolutely positive that, if there were a genuine desire to reduce expenditures and to decrease our budget deficit, there’s room for some substantial trimming in an annual outlay of 3.6 trillion dollars.