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Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 09:27 AM PST

Elections Have Consequences

by simple serf

We've heard the statement “Elections Have Consequences” from both political parties. The Democrats embraced this mantra in 2008 and 2012, while Republicans shouted it from mountain tops in 2010. I'm getting a 2010 feeling in my gut, and I don't like it. Let me describe why, below the symbol of continuation.

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Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 11:21 AM PST

USA Inc.

by simple serf

Once again I’m hearing CEO’s say that “if they ran their business like the Government, they'd be out of business.” I agree with that statement. The Government is not a business, never has been, and never should be.
To see how ridiculous this is, I want to imagine what the restructuring of our Government would look like if it were a corporation.  Follow me below the Spirograph generated twirler for the reorganization of USA Inc.

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I have seen a lot of misleading statements regarding Social Security’s (SS) financial health and future. To help educate myself, I decided to take a journey through the nuts and bolts of the program. Join me as I go through the history, dispel myths, and discuss the financial health of Social Security on the 76'th anniversary of its first payouts.  

Poll

What would you choose as a fix for Social Security?

2%7 votes
74%212 votes
0%0 votes
1%3 votes
7%22 votes
9%26 votes
2%7 votes
2%6 votes

| 284 votes | Vote | Results

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I saw a link the other day to Nate Silvers 538 Blog, the Title was “What Is Driving Growth in Government Spending?” Being a numbers guy who is pretty familiar with Govt Budgets, and halfway through Nate’s book The Signal and the Noise, I meandered over to take a look.

 Let me say after reading the post, his conclusions, and looking at his sources, I was in shock. Let me re-state that, total shock! Here is Nate Silver --whose book says over and over again “to always check your data sources” -- using a site that quite frankly seems to have pretty shifty data. As I was looking through the source site usgovernmentspending.com I stumbled on a link specifically for Tea Party people, probably to reload the old data cannon.

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Did everyone know we are already three months into 2013? Oh sorry, I mean Fiscal Year 2013. For the federal government the FY-13 began on October 1, 2012, and ends on September 30, 2013. Given that info, the CBO’s monthly budget review is out. The report shows we are still improving and heading in the right direction.

Put succinctly, year over year Receipts/Revenue are up (~$60B) and Outlays/Spending are also up (~$31B). Together that's a (~$29B) reduction so far, for our yearly deficit.

Lets dig a little deeper into those numbers because there is more good news.

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I wanted to do a follow up on military spending with a question… Why is everyone so afraid of cutting defense?  We (the US) spend more on Defense than the rest of the world combined. These spending levels will once again be at the forefront of the next budget battle brewing in Congress. The Democrats and President Obama will have the upper hand in the negotiations because of the Sequester; it’s still there ready to automatically cut DOD by 8% or ~$55B on March 1. Not much considering the DOD annual budget authority has erupted in the last ten years, with 2012 spending levels at ~$700B. The common argument used by the DOD protectors is “it’s for the troops” talking point. While that plays well to the MSM, is it true?

Poll

In the upcoming budget battle, will our elected leaders agree to?

30%17 votes
25%14 votes
25%14 votes
8%5 votes
10%6 votes

| 56 votes | Vote | Results

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Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 08:44 PM PST

Miss Information - not a nice lady

by simple serf

I was poking around twitter tonight and got a rather rude forwarded tweet from The Heritage Foundation regarding some wasteful US food aid programs. The tweet – as seen below—claims major waste cited in a GAO report. Being I have nothing better to do, I printed out the report and actually read it. I found no such findings in the report. There is some mention that our international food aid programs may overlap in some countries, but the programs (USDA & USAID) coordinate to ensure they are not helping the same people or during the same time-frame.
 

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We need to redirect the conversation that will start in Washington tomorrow. It’s not really a conversation, it’s a negotiation. During that negotiation I want to suggest -- no demand -- that Social Security & Medicare/Medicaid be taken off the table.  In its place…. I offer Department of Defense (DOD) cuts. Give me a few minutes of your time to explain why we should all be demanding these cuts.

Poll

In 2012, Defense spending topped $700 billion, how much would you reduce the annual DOD budget by?

0%1 votes
5%7 votes
8%12 votes
15%21 votes
24%34 votes
40%56 votes
1%2 votes
4%6 votes

| 139 votes | Vote | Results

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I don’t want to hear the job creator bull-shizzle anymore. The Republican House is still exhibiting their old habits of protecting the wealthy or so called “Job Creators” Let’s look a bit deeper into that myth by pulling back the rug on what creates jobs. (It’s sure not the Republicans)

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Hello everyone, welcome back! As we continue our journey into the secretive world of federal budgeting. That same federal budget that is available to all in painstaking detail on the internet for all to see (or download). If you’re like me, just having thousands of pages containing more numbers than imaginable is absolutely heaven, and it’s FREE!

 So as we move further into the budget I wanted to refresh everyone on just one chart from last week. Below is the budget at its highest level; receipts or revenues, and outlays or spending.

Poll

How much of our total Debt obligation is owned by China?

61%60 votes
27%27 votes
6%6 votes
2%2 votes
2%2 votes

| 97 votes | Vote | Results

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Let’s take a journey together, a journey of numbers. I love numbers, so much so that I pretty much live in Excel. I thoroughly enjoy calculating and charting data of all types. As part of my (soon to be former) job, the Federal Budget – in particular the Defense Budget – is my main analysis area. It’s amazing when I talk to people, read articles, or listen to pundits the amount of mistakes made when referring to certain aspects of the US budget or budget process.

Poll

What is the largest Outlay/Spending category in the Federal Budget?

9%10 votes
59%62 votes
0%1 votes
10%11 votes
2%3 votes
16%17 votes

| 104 votes | Vote | Results

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Mitt Romney’s 47% comment further revealed what the deep seated (rarely spoken in public) feelings of the Republican Party really are. I have news for him; in the 47% he speaks of resides a huge bloc of staunch Republicans. Even with this latest proof of contempt pointed toward them they will not change their minds. They will still methodically get up on Election Day, (probably get a ride) go down to the polls, and cast their vote for any Republican. Here’s why.

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