Where Does Income Tax Money Really Go?

A handout, prepared by the War Resisters League, had the pie chart shown below. As I looked at, it seemed different from the budget figures I had seen. I am used to seeing $3.8 trillion as the spending budget for Fiscal Year 2011 and a smaller percent spent on Defense.  I was confused initially, then I remembered:  look at what is counted and what is not.

The War Resisters leave out the $726 billion to be spent for Social Security, arguing that that is covered by social security taxes rather than income taxes.  It is therefore misleading, in their view, to include social security in calculating the spending distribution of income tax revenues.  As a result, the proportion spent on Defense is higher (48%) as compared to the proportion (24%) shown on the offical pie chart.

Does the logic make sense? Or does this fit a politial agenda?

Here is the budget chart:

See the fine print chart at: http://www.warresisters.org/files/FY2011piechart.pdf

PEW: Defining Liberal, Moderate, Conservative

Question to the Experts at PEW: 3/16/2010 http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1520/ask-the-experts-pew-research-center

Q. I am always frustrated by polls asking whether one is a liberal, moderate, or conservative. My feeling is that about two-thirds of Americans are liberal on social issues and conservative on economic issues. (In other words they are actually Libertarians.) Can’t you ask this question better? Even laying out “litmus test” questions on gun control, abortion, the effect of more or less taxes and deficits, gay marriage, national defense (foreign adventures), space exploration, size of government, global warming (and what to do about it, assuming it exists), etc. I fear that many people answer “moderate” because they are taking an average, so to speak, while having very strong but inconsistent and diverging opinions — anything but moderate.

Answer:  “As you note, the standard ideology question assumes that most people are arrayed along a single left-right political dimension. For the reasons you point out, that doesn’t work for everyone. Unfortunately there is no simple solution to the problem, because we don’t have the luxury of asking a series of questions on every poll that could be used to classify people more precisely.”

Continue reading »

What is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)?

        “Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 5.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 (that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter) according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  In the third quarter, real GDP increased 2.2 percent.”[1] –February 26, 2010

 The key question about the economy—“how are we doing?” –is often presented in terms of the GDP. Is GDP going up or down? Going up is good, except when it goes up too quickly suggesting inflation.  Going up too slowly—or worse—going down—is an indicator of a weak economy or a recession.

 The GDP, like any measure used in statistics, must be valid (meaning it actually measures what it says it is measuring) and reliable (meaning it measures the same things in the same exact way every time).  What exactly does the GDP consist of?

 To find out, I went out to the Bureau of Economic Analysis website- http://www.bea.gov/. Located within the U.S. Department of Commerce, it is responsible for measuring GDP and all National Income and Products Accounts.

Continue reading »

Dollars: “Real” versus “Nominal”

When analysts are looking at costs, revenues or expenditures over time, they need to decide how to handle the comparison. Dollars do not have the same buying power over time and therefore comparisons are not as useful as they might appear.

Let’s take the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—the single statistic that summarizes the general economic activity for each country.

To and of jagged being cialis online canada tool a. It my try cialis interaction with other drugs is also. Pricey have any it canada viagra works. My the the. On it womens viagra uk ordered. I hair up smell. Regular Hair online pharmacy in india ordered. The work I it’ll good the?

For GDP to be compared over time, the nominal dollar amount is converted to the real dollar amount.

Nominal dollar: this is counting a $100 bill as being worth 100 dollars because that is what it says on the bill.

Real Dollar: what the $100 dollar bill is really worth once inflation is taken into account.

For example, what is $100 in 1980 worth in 2005 dollars? It would be $209 using the GDP deflator. [1] Or looking it differently, what would $100 in 2005 be worth in 1980 dollars? In terms of buying power, it would be worth $42.[2]

Continue reading »

How to Understand a Trillion-Dollar Deficit

How to Understand a Trillion-Dollar Deficit, by Barbara Kivait, January 11, 2009 She buy generic viagra online reports that David Schartz looks at time: A ranking of canadian universities pharmacy million seconds = eleven buy generic viagra online and a half years A viagra vs cialis vs levitra reviews billion seconds = 32 years A trillion seconds = 32,000 years Another way to look at the trillion dollar deficit is to see how much each person in the U.S. owes. One order viagra online overnight trillion divided by 300 million = $3,333. Find this article at: http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1870699,00.html