U.S. Posts Biggest Monthly Budget Surplus in Seven Years, A Simple Math Lesson

The boost in receipts narrowed the U.S. budget deficit for the previous 12 months to $460 billion, from $510 billion in March and $499 billion in the prior year. It was the lowest annual deficit since last November and the second lowest since September 2008.

Over the past 12 months, revenues are running 9% above their year-earlier level while spending is running 7% higher.

The figures illustrate how, despite growing unease over income inequality, the taxes that America’s rich are paying on their rising incomes are yielding a windfall for the U.S. Treasury. Payroll taxes rose 6% from a year earlier in April, while other individual taxes, including those on capital gains and self-employment incomes, were up 18%.

via U.S. Posts Biggest Monthly Budget Surplus in Seven Years – WSJ.

So…again…real world results.

If the question is “How do we deal with massive deficits?”, the answer now shown to be a resoundingly good one, “Raise taxes on the wealthy”.

We’ve got quite a bit more room to go on both of these before the problem is solved, as it were, but we know now this is a solid strategy.

Sadly, to know this you must know Math, which is an Evil LIberal Conspiracy down here in Texas

But here’s one important fact that Texas’ conservative and libertarian boosters reliably fail to mention (perhaps because they don’t know it): If you’re not rich, Texas is not actually a low-tax state. In fact, most Texans pay more taxes than most Californians. That seems strange and incorrect at first — Texas doesn’t even have an income tax! — but it’s true. Thanks to sales and property taxes, Texas is among the states with the ten most regressive tax systems. Texans in the bottom 60 percent of income distribution all pay higher effective tax rates than their Californian counterparts. Texas’ top one-percent are the ones enjoying the supposed low-tax utopia, paying an effective rate of 3.2 percent. The rate for the lowest 20 percent is 12.6 percent. Kevin Drum has a helpful chart.

via The “Texas Miracle” fraud: Turns out it involves taxing the poor to help the rich get richer – Salon.com.

This is why many very rich Texans have hundred of millions to piss away on politicians, they don’t pay that money in Taxes.

We also see the regressive tax situation hit reality in the toll road expansion.  Because the wealthy can pay less in taxes than they pay in political donations, everyone else has to pay for the highways.  This means a net cash flow out of Texas, on an ongoing basis, and adds to the costs incurred by workers while saving businesses money.

Which is to say…exactly what the article does.

Republicans Deny 90’s Existed (and seem to think the aughts were a golden age for job creation)

House Speaker: Tax hikes not “viable” for special panel – Sep. 15, 2011 http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/15/news/economy/boehner_speech/?cnn=yes

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) –House Speakerohn Boehner drew a line in the sand on taxes on Thursday, saying that a special debt committee tasked with cutting at least $1.2 trillion from federal deficits shouldn’t consider tax hikes. “Tax increases, I think, are off the table,” Boehner said in a speech to the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. “It’s a very simple equation. Tax increases destroy jobs. And theoint Committee is a jobs committee. Its mission is to reduce the deficit that is threatening job creation in our country.”

Seriously, go look at the tax rates[1] and job creation in the 90’s [2].  Compare it to the aughts, and then stop repeating blatant lies without calling them out.


Republicans charge that Clinton promised a
middle-class tax cut
and delivered a tax increase instead. That is not
quite right. A promise to increase taxes on the affluent was,
in fact, a central feature of Clinton’s 1992 campaign. And almost two-thirds (63
percent) of the projected revenues in Clinton’s tax increase hit high-income
couples (over $140,000 a year) and individuals (over $115,000). Most of this
came from an increase in the top income-tax rate. Another 15 percent of
Clinton’s revenue came from tax increases on business,
primarily a rise in the corporate income-tax rate and new limits on the
deduction for entertainment expenses. These also were campaign promises made and
kept, not broken. (By interesting contrast, a full 70 percent of Dole’s
increased revenues came from business, primarily in the form of closing
loopholes and ending special favors included in the 1981 tax-cut bill. Clinton’s
bill, while raising business taxes somewhat overall, introduced a variety of
special business preferences.)

[2] [the WSJ, no less]

President Jobs created Jobs at end of term Jobs at start of term Payroll expansion Jobs created per year in office Population growth Percent change in population
George W. Bush 3.0 million 135.5 million 132.5 million 2.3% 375,000 22.0 million 7.7%
Bill Clinton 23.1 million 132.5 million 109.4 million 21.1% 2,900,000 25.2 million 8.9%
George H.W. Bush 2.5 million 109.4 million 106.9 million 2.3% 625,000 12.5 million 4.8%
Ronald Reagan 16.0 million 106.9 million 90.9 million 17.6% 2,000,000 17.3 million 7%

Basic Economic Math for U.S. Americans (re: Taxes, Revenues, Debts, Deficits, and Defaults)

Remember when you were in the seventh, or maybe eight grade, and your teacher came in and said you were going to learn something called “Algebra”?   Remember how you were all like, “What could I possibly ever need to know this for?!  I’m never going to need to know this stuff!”.

Guess what?  This week is that week.  This is why you need to know this stuff.

We have some fairly important decisions to make in the near future as U.S. Americans on the direction our country needs to take.  I’m sure many of you have divergent opinions on what that direction is, or what we need to do to get there.  So do I.  This post isn’t about that.  This post is about math.  Basic economic math.

Without having this foundation in verifiable, repeatable reality (1+1 always equals 2 in basic math), it is difficult to build a framework of understanding for large and complex systems.  If you don’t know how much of something something else is, or if it’s becoming smaller or larger relative to that thing, it’s hard to make important decisions regarding how you would like things to change (and how to functionally make that happen).

I’ve touched on this subject before.  I think it is fundamental to the disconnect we are now experiencing in this country.  We suck at math.    So without further ado…let’s define terms.


The two most important numbers in the debt equation are the Debt [D] and GPD [GDP].   Debt is *numerator*.  GPD is the *denominator*.   This gives us a debt-to-GDP ratio.   D/GDP = Debt Ratio.

The largely agreed upon goal for the U.S. economy, that is considered “stable” by pretty much everyone, is a 50-60% Debt to GPD ratio.  What this means is that at any given time, we are carrying a debt load that is slightly larger than one-half (.6 or 60%) of our yearly earning power.    Countries in such a balanced situation to do a few things easily…one, they can borrow quickly and cheaply to deal with crises; two, they can quickly pay down debt if need be to smooth out boom/bush business cycles and three, they aren’t as exposed to downturns in others markets (as opposed to a country with no debt that instead uses a “sovereign wealth fund“).

So…now we have the main component of this this quation…the D/GPD ratio.

You have probably heard a LOT a about “spending” over the past few months, and how it is “out of control”.   You may have even seen some folks cite *yearly deficits* as evidence that “spending is out of control.”

A deficit (and it’s alter ego the “surplus”) is simply the difference (negative for deficits, positive for surplus) between the amount of revenue the government takes in and the amount of spending it puts out.

Part of the disconnect that is happening right now is we are seeing huge deficits, focusing solely on the “spending” side of the equation, and don’t seem to be largely aware how badly *revenues* have dropped off during the recession.

To simplify:  Revenues [R] – Spending [S]= Deficit(-)/Surplus(+) [I]


Remember how I mentioned how there would be Algebra?   Here’s where it all comes together…..(and perhaps, can all fall apart).

There are two final factors that need to be addressed before we can get a final equation that captures the situation.  The are interest rate (i) and growth (G).   Interest, in this case, is interest on our debt.   Growth, in this case, is the change in GDP.

This gives us a Debt-to-GPD ratio that looks like this:

(D+I)*i/GPD*G = Debt-to-GPD Ratio

Which read as  “Debt (D) plus income (I) times interest rate (i) divided by GPD times Growth.

Notice that last equation.  We’ve been hammered by folks that this whole problem is caused by a single thing *spending*.   However, when we look at the whole forest instead of that one tree, we see that spending is a part of the annual deficit/surplus which changes the debt which is the divided by GPD that has been multiplied by the amount of growth (both positive or negative).

When someone says spending “is the whole problem”, they are lying to you through omission.    The deficit/surplus isn’t solely created by spending, it is the *difference between spending and revenues*.     As I’ll illustrate in the next segment of this piece, a good portion of recent huge deficits have been created by corresponding huge drops in revenue.

When you understand that “spending” is one of that largest factors in GROWTH, you should start to wonder about what the point of cutting spending, and hampering growth, is going to do to *help* our overall fiscal situation (the GDP-to-Debt Ratio).

Cutting spending during a recession is like taking the foot off the gas and declaring, “We’ll coast up this hill!”

Coming in the next Part…

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT RECENT U.S. AMERICAN HISTORY BY U.S. AMERICANS?! (these are actual responses to actual questions I’ve answered over the past few days…hopefully this covers yours as well)

Republicans Ecstatic Over Bad Jobs Report, Vow to Crush Economy/Obama, Lead Country to Freedom!

So this has officially reached sickening proportions.   Many didn’t think the Republicans were stupid/evil enough to push it this far, and then go for the throat of the country when it was exposed, but those folks haven’t actually been following what the Republicans have been doing or saying for the last little while.

To rewind a bit, the current Republican leadership voted 19 times to raise the debt limit under Bush.  They did so with no protest, no riders, no taxes (hence the constant need to raise the limit), multiple expensive wars, expanding “entitlements” (Med Part D), and with what could damn near be called enthusiam.   Over the 8 years of the Bush presidency, and all his tax cuts, we ended up with Zero (0, that’s none, nada, zilch) net jobs created.

That’s the big rewind.  The little rewind has Eric Cantor (R-Douchebag) walking out of the debt ceiling discussions after Democrats mentioned changing the tax depreciation limit for Rush Limbaugh’s jet from 5 years to 7 years (amoung many other loopholes that mostly benefit people who, from the amount of drugs and Haitian prostidudes they consume, seem to be doing just fine).  That was simply too much for Eric to stomach, so he had to walk out of the talks. (this was two weeks ago).

Now, after that spectacular failure of leadership,they want to double down and totally fuck the country.   What is the problem now?   Any compromise *at all*.

DES MOINES — The decision by House Speaker John A. Boehner to scale back budget talks with President Obama unfolded as Republican presidential candidates were campaigning against any outcome that smacks of compromise, underscoring divisions in the party over whether to raise the federal debt limit.

The action by Mr. Boehner, which was announced Saturday night, illustrated just how difficult negotiations had become in this political climate to reach agreement on a sweeping plan to lower the deficit without an infusion of new tax revenues.

Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota seized on the issue and used the first television commercial of her campaign to highlight her opposition to raising the debt ceiling. She drew enthusiastic applause on Saturday as she amplified her position.

“It’s time for tough love,” Mrs. Bachmann told supporters at a rally. “Don’t let them scare you by telling you that the country’s going to fall apart.”

So now the frontrunner in the Republican joke parade has crossed over completely into insano-parody.   One needs to realize the context of Mrs. Bachmann’s comments…her entire campaign is about scaring people about how the country is going to fall apart under Obama.

One of the quickest ways to do this, as pretty much everyone who has a rational understanding of world economics agrees, is for the U.S. to default on our debt.   Despite Mrs. Bachmann’s idiotic statements to the contrary (and her idiotic economic statements are legion), not raising the debt ceiling when government revenues are at historic lows (as perecentage of GDP),  and we are still trying to recover from a recession, is about the worst thing one can do for the economy.

This is putting somebody who is starving on a diet, and then burning down their pantry.    It can only lead one direction, as we’ll note when we get to the jobs numbers next.

I mentioned that jobs reports.  The Republicans loved it.   It’s what emboldened them to push for an absolute destruction of the economy…because they now feel they can safely blame it on Obama. (yea, they campaigned on “jobs, jobs, jobs”…no they haven’t yet put forth an actual jobs bill (they claimed trying to repeal “Obamacare” was their “jobs” bill)…yes, it only shows what an evil/partisan/liberal I am to point this out…yes that quote from Boehner about “Where are the jobs?” should have resulted in him being struck down by lightning in a  just universe with an engaged God).

Here’s the jobs numbers….

WASHINGTON — Facing a dismal jobs report, President Barack Obama called on Congress Friday to end uncertainty over their debt standoff and pass a litany of administration-backed proposals, including a payroll tax cut extension and three free trade agreements.

Obama spoke from the Rose Garden shortly after the release of fresh figures that showed employers added just 18,000 jobs in June, the fewest in nine months, and the unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent. The president said the numbers were yet another sign that a full economic recovery is still elusive.

[full story]

I want to talk about those numbers real quick, and the notion of “small government” the Republicans keep pushing.   That rising unemployment number?  It’s a reflection of a “smaller government”, literally.  Here’s what underlies those 18,000 new jobs…

The actual: private payrolls up 57,000; government payrolls down 39,000.

“It’s as if the economy hit a brick wall in May,” said [Nigel Gault of IHS Global Insight]. In the three previous months, payroll jobs had increased an average of 215,000; the May-June average was 22,000. Keep in mind that, with an expanding labor force, the economy needs 100,000 to 125,000 new jobs a month to prevent unemployment from rising. Reducing it requires even more job-creation.

It isn’t clear what happened. Standard explanations for the economy’s sluggish first half of 2011 cite three causes: bad weather (flooding in the Midwest); Japan’s earthquake, which depressed auto production by disrupting supply chains; and high oil prices, which sapped consumer buying power

[full story]

Yup, that’s right, it’s more teachers and government workers being laid off.  Same exact thing as I mentioned in June.

So…what…pray tell, was that brick wall the economy hit in May?    Oh yea….(and yes…I mentioned this when it happened)

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — It’s official: The U.S. government hit the debt ceiling on May 16.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told Congress he would have to suspend investments in federal retirement funds until Aug. 2 in order to create room for the government to continue borrowing in the debt markets.

[full story]

Yes, that’s right.  The Media (fuck them to hell) has been operating under this pseudo-lie for the last two months.  Every time they ever mentioned the debt ceiling, they should have mentioned how we hit it a couple months ago, and have been using tricks since then to pay the bills.  They should mention how China thinks we’ve already defaulted.  Instead they keep talking as if A) the “debt ceiling” is the same as the debt, or that not raising it somehow alleviates our debt and B) AS IF WE HAVEN’T ALREADY CROSSED IT.

That “brick wall” our economy hit in May?  IT WAS THE DEBT CEILING!!!

Let’s think about this for a second…hmmm…Republicans refusing to raise the debt ceiling (err,”brick wall”)…economy slows….Republicans add more bricks to the wall, saying how it’s all Obama’s fault…idiotic Media doesn’t explain two simple facts that expose this bullshit….the economy slows….Republican governors fire a bunch of people…unemployment goes up….economy slows….Republicans add more bricks to wall…the economy slows….unemployment goes up….and then the most important thing to Republicans happens…

Obama loses.

So to the Republicans it’s very much worth it to destroy the full faith and credit of U.S. debt, push unemployment up, and slow the economy, all because it’s good for them politically.   It’s about priorities, people, and every single one of you, by now, should know exactly what those Republican priorities are.   The Senate Majority leader laid it out, early on.

“Over the past week, some have said it was indelicate of me to suggest that our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term in office,” the Senate Republican leader will tell the conservative Heritage Foundation, according to excerpts of his speech provided to POLITICO.

“But the fact is, if our primary legislative goals are to repeal and replace the health spending bill, to end the bailouts, cut spending and shrink the size and scope of government, the only way to do all these things is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things,” the Kentucky Republican will say. “We can hope the president will start listening to the electorate after Tuesday’s election. But we can’t plan on it.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/44688.html#ixzz1RjHfCQ8D

So that’s the only way they can end Medicare and Medicaid, and raise the retirement age and *extend those tax cuts for the rich*….get Obama out of office.  The only way they can do that…is for the U.S. to default on its debt (*or flirt with the idea long enough to screw up the global economy…which they’ve already done*)…and have the economy tank.

Once that happens our corporate media will simply pass along the messages, the unlimited spending by the Koch Broth, et. al. during the campaign will turn everyone off with the ugliness, and we very well might end up with country of Michelle Bachmann’s dreams, where the only thing the Government does is tell you who you can’t marry, sleep with, drink with, abort, or die for.     Government “services” and taxes, will be a thing of the past.

We will finally have achieved the Tea Party paradise…no taxes, no government, only Freedom.

Just like Somalia.

UPDATE:  One final note on this, and it’s a phrase that has been chapping my hide.  Here’s the quote…

Before the meeting, GOP leaders took a hard line against tax hikes as part of any debt ceiling deal.

“Everything is on the table except raising taxes on the American people,” Boehner said. “We are not going to raise taxes on the very people that we expect to reinvest in our economy and to help create jobs.”

That statement there, the part I bolded,  IS A LIE.  Everything, literally, is NOT on the table, if raising taxes is not on the table.  You have, in fact, said the only thing that’s on the table is the “other guy’s” food.   This is an absurd position, that’s is LITERALLY A LIE.

To further annoy my logic sensors, the jobs that the people he’s talking about create (Rush, for example) WOULD ACTUALLY EXIST if they were created for the reasons he is implying they do (that is…the wealthy have extra money and, naturally, spend it to hire people regardless of demand…yes, I know it doesn’t make sense, but that’s how he’s implying it works.    It’s “supply side” economics.   To understand why this doesn’t work, and why spreading the wealth a bit works much better under certain circumstances, watch this short video.  Short version…you run a store…do you need more employees to service one guy making $1B/yr buying one hamburger a year, or 10,000 people making $100K/yr buying 10,000 hamburgers.).

Eric Cantor, D-Bag Extraordinairre, Typical 21st Century Republican

So I’ve mentioned before I’ve been following the debt limit discussions currently going on in Washington.   They came to a halt last Friday after Eric Cantor (R-VA) deciding that constantly saying that taxes SIMPLY CANNOT be part of the solution to government debt wasn’t working and everyone kept asking him to be more realistic.

That was never going to happen.  His departure from the “debt commission” was planned.

GOP aides and lawmakers said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) decision to exit debt talks led by Vice President Biden was inevitable.

The timing of Cantor’s exit from the talks has been discussed for weeks, and senior House Republicans cast it as a natural progression for the negotiations.

“There have been discussions about when these talks need to end and when the Speaker and the president need to get in the game,” one GOP aide explained.

[full story]

When the guy quit last week, he had this to say…

“There is not support in the House for a tax increase, and I don’t believe now is the time to raise taxes in light of our current economic situation,” Cantor said. “I believe it is time for the president to speak clearly and resolve the tax issue.”

What’s wild about this is that Cantor is now using the economic troubles caused by running huge deficits (created by tax cuts) and a war (paid for with…tax cuts) and lax regulation, as an argument against raising any government revenue.    The doublespeak here is off the charts.

Luckily there are a couple honest Republicans out there to try and balance out this stuff.   Well, former Republicans.  So it takes old people who have seen the errors of their ways to make the obvious point to the oblivious masses, old people like Reagan’s budget guy.

The sickest thing here…if Obama hadn’t given in to the hostage takers last December…we wouldn’t be having this “crisis” or this discussion.  The Bush Tax Cuts would be gone, and we’d be back on the path to fiscal sanity.

What’s even more wild is that about half of *actual* Republicans are rational enough to understand the governments can raise taxes to pay down government debt.

On tackling the deficit, voters by a margin of 2-to-1 support raising taxes on incomes above $250,000, with 64 percent in favor and 33 percent opposed.

Independents supported higher taxes on the wealthy by 63-34 percent; Democrats by 83-15 percent; and Republicans opposed by 43-54 percent.

This is the disconnect, BTW.  Four out of ten *actual Republicans* understand how low taxes are right now, and that they can be used by governments to pay down debt.   But when you get to Republican leadership, the support for any kind of taxes at all drops directly to 0%.
If you don’t understand why this is, you don’t understand how campaign finance reforms have made the Republicans a party that represents the interests of 1% of the population, but is able to use their wealth to buy 50% (and sometimes more) of the government.     Sit it on this meeting to find out how that works.

Last year the Wall Street Journal reported that Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House, had between $1,000 and $15,000 invested in ProShares Trust Ultrashort 20+ Year Treasury EFT. The fund aggressively “shorts” long-term U.S. Treasury bonds, meaning that it performs well when U.S. debt is undesirable. (A short is when the trader hopes to profit from the decline in the value of an asset.)

According to his latest financial disclosure statement, which covers the year 2010 and has been publicly available since this spring, Cantor still has up to $15,000 in the same fund. Contacted by Salon this week, Cantor’s office gave no indication that the Virginia Republican, who has played a leading role in the debt ceiling negotiations, has divested himself of these holdings since his last filing. Unless an agreement can be reached, the U.S. could begin defaulting on its debt payments on Aug. 2. If that happens and Cantor is still invested in the fund, the value of his holdings would skyrocket.

I think we can all rest happy knowing that if the U.S. defaults on their debt, Eric Cantor will do just fine.    Heck, the fund is up 3.3 percent just since he quit last week.

Moderate Debt Ceiling Rant

I’ll let this guy speak for his own self.

Couple other links on the topic…these are largely the symptoms of the above phenomenon.

Here’s some general background reading on the changes happening during the period ranted about.

Remember how Wisconsin was broke and teachers needed to take a pay and rights cut to balance the budget?   Yea…turns out that money was just needed by folks more supportive of the Governor.

Remember how people used to take vacations?   Yea, me neither.  But it turns out they do, in other countries.

Working more makes Americans happier than Europeans, according to a study published recently in the Journal of Happiness Studies. That may be because Americans believe more than Europeans do that hard work is associated with success, wrote Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn, the study’s author and an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Dallas.

“Americans maximize their… [happiness] by working, and Europeans maximize their [happiness] through leisure,” he found.

So despite research documenting the health and productivity benefits of taking time off, a long vacation can be undesirable, scary, unrealistic or just plain impossible for many U.S. workers.

[full story]

BTW, that concept that hard work is what it takes to change your stars and it’s easier to do in the U.S. that anywhere else?     Yea…not so much.  

The results are quite spectacular. Figure 3 shows that while in the Nordic countries and the UK, men born in the lowest income quintile (the income quintile of the father) have a probability of 25-30% to stay in this lowest quintile; in the US, this probability is more than 40%. Figure 4 shows that the probability of US men born in the lowest quintile to move to the top quintile is less than 8%, while in the Nordic countries and the UK, this percentage is around 12%.

[full paper]

U.S. to begin smashing piggy banks to pay creditors

Treasury Details Steps to Avoid Default – WSJ.com http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703703304576299484177501192.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Here’s what we are doing literally (not figuratively like in the title)

In the first emergency step, Treasury on Friday will stop issuing state and local government series securities, commonly known as SLGS. That could make it harder for states and cities to issue debt, because they will have to seek issuers in the private market. If the debt limit hasn’t been raised by May 16, the government will begin delaying payments into two government pension funds and redeeming Treasury securities in those funds.

It also will suspend its daily investment of Treasury securities into another government employees’ retirement plan. In addition, Treasury officials are prepared to suspend their daily reinvestment of Treasury securities held as investments in the Exchange Stabilization Fund, a fund held by the government to guard against exchange-rate fluctuations.

UPDATE: This was a draft from a bit back, here’s the latest news…

As the Treasury department has been warning — and as House Republican leaders have promised — the United States hit its debt limit Monday morning. The government can no longer meet its obligations by borrowing more money. And since incoming revenues aren’t sufficient to pay for the services Congress has ordered and for interest payments on existing debt, the Treasury department is taking a series of ever-more extraordinary measures to pay all of its bills.

[full story]

This was as threatened by the Derp Brigade (also known as the Tea Party).  They believe that by simply not paying for our obligations, we won’t have them any more.    These folks have convinced themselves that the lowest tax rate in their lifetime is the highest tax rate in the history of the Universe, and the only way to make that point is not to pay down the debt DRIVEN UP BY THAT SAME RATE. 

Here’s the graph, putting the tax cuts in proportion to everything else that is blamed…

The Bush Economic Legacy

It’s so ridiculous at this point, but I’ve got about six or seven posts to make about this.  We had a balanced budget 12 years ago.  We paid down some debt.  We then cut taxes and were told that would help pay it down more.  The debt got larger.  We cut taxes more.  We went to war.  The debt got larger.  We cut taxes more.   Now the debt is huge…and what’s the Republican plan?  Don’t pay the debt we do owe, and cut taxes more.

All the while one of their mouth is saying “all options are on the table” to deal with the debt, and the other side screaming, “EXCEPT FOR TAXES!!!”.     When you have have one-half of government refusing to consider the concept of “taxes” being used to pay for “government debt”, you know how crazy we’ve become.

And hopefully now everyone can see how bass-ackwward tea-rarded certain groups of political activists have been shown to be.

UPDATE:  This story is about this same group of idjits.   To understand the level of hypocrisy here…this is group elected by the elderly after complaining about how Obama was going to cut Medicare, then voted to essentially end Medicare, then got rightly lambasted by their constituents and realized they’d spent the first 25% of their term making sure it would be their only one….and finally have the temerity to write the President and ask for a more civil discussion and that he not mention how they voted to end Medicare.  BTW, that should be the current Tea Party Bestseller…”The Tea Party : How They Ran Against Government Death Panels and Won…Then Proceeded to Vote to End Medicare.”

Death and Taxes 2009: Where Your Federal Tax Dollars Go (Million, Billion, Trilllion, Basketballs)

via Death and Taxes 2009: A Visual Guide to Where Your Federal Tax Dollars Go – WallStats

Nice rundown here of the federal budge and how your tax dollars are spent.   I liked how they were able to embed the videos into the document as well.  It looks like Silverlight is making some application-level progress.

UPDATE: I was thinking more about why I like this chart so much and I realized it’s because of the way that it compares information in proportional circles.  I think this is probably one of the best ways to graphically convey scale and easily allow comparisons. 

Sometimes it is difficult to know, instinctively for most people, the difference between a million and a billion, but seeing the difference between a circle the size of a basketball (9.39 in.) one big enough to fill the gap in the Lackawanna Valley Bridge (800 ft.) and it quickly become apparent to everyone what 1000X actually means.

Now if you take that basketball up to a trillion times (in American english, 1000 billion, in English english a “billion” or a million million) and you have to draw a circle around most of the cool parts of Southern California (18,000 sq. mi.).

So if you think of that basketball as a dollar, think of having to set up enough basketballs to fille up a circle 18,000 sq. ki. across to think of a trillion dollars.

That’s about how much we spend.  You can see that in the chart above (which needs a handy real world comparison as well).

Oh, and can someone check my math.