House Republicans on Thursday trimmed about $35 million from the House's operating budget, a move that Speaker John Boehner hailed as "a strong signal" of the new Congress' "commitment to making the tough choices necessary to end Washington's job-killing spending binge."
But while $35 million is a lot of money to the average American, it's worth thinking about just how "strong" a signal the House really sent. Consider: According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the government's projected spending for Fiscal Year 2010 is roughly $3.6 trillion.
That's 3.6 trillion - one three, one six, and 11 zeros.
Let's put that number in context. There are 365 days in a year, 24 hours in a day, and 60 minutes in an hour. That adds up to a total of 525,600 minutes. Divide that figure into the $3.6 trillion in FY2010 spending and you find that the federal government spends about $6.85 million per minute.
That's right - the government spends, on average, nearly $7 million every minute. That means the cost-cutting measure yesterday only saved taxpayers enough to cover about five minutes worth of spending - less time than it takes to hold the average congressional vote.