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commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

What does the Federal Government spend money on?

This piece from Nate Silver over @ FiveThirtyEight…..

So I wrote a post yesterday about government waste in which I dared to suggest that some Americans may be confused about just what exactly our federal government spends its money on and in what amounts. I still cannot find any survey results in which Americans are asked to apply actual percentages to actual spending categories. But I have dug up some other, related findings.


Before proceeding, let’s establish some general baselines of actual federal government spending against which to compare what we do know about American perceptions. The above pie chart, taken from Wikipedia, breaks down spending into more than two dozen programs or cabinet agencies. But we can simplify this a bit by collapsing the eight largest chunks/wedges into three main categories:

  1. Welfare for seniors, 34 percent: Social Security and Medicare wedges.
  2. Defense, 22 percent (Defense and Homeland Security).
  3. Welfare for everyone else, 20 percent ( Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance and Health & Human Services.)
  4. Interest, 9 percent (Interest).

Again….for the rest of the piece ……which addresses the question of how much the U.S. Government spends on foreign aid……

As the Dog posted to someone else here…..a large part of the budget simply can’t be cut due to entitlements, defense and security  concerns…..

February 14, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Government, Health, Law, Media, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Taxes, The Economy, Updates | , , , , | 2 Comments

What does the Federal Government spend money on?

This piece from Nate Silver over @ FiveThirtyEight…..

So I wrote a post yesterday about government waste in which I dared to suggest that some Americans may be confused about just what exactly our federal government spends its money on and in what amounts. I still cannot find any survey results in which Americans are asked to apply actual percentages to actual spending categories. But I have dug up some other, related findings.


Before proceeding, let’s establish some general baselines of actual federal government spending against which to compare what we do know about American perceptions. The above pie chart, taken from Wikipedia, breaks down spending into more than two dozen programs or cabinet agencies. But we can simplify this a bit by collapsing the eight largest chunks/wedges into three main categories:

  1. Welfare for seniors, 34 percent: Social Security and Medicare wedges.
  2. Defense, 22 percent (Defense and Homeland Security).
  3. Welfare for everyone else, 20 percent ( Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance and Health & Human Services.)
  4. Interest, 9 percent (Interest).

Again….for the rest of the piece ……which addresses the question of how much the U.S. Government spends on foreign aid……

As the Dog posted to someone else here…..a large part of the budget simply can’t be cut due to entitlements, defense and security  concerns…..

February 14, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Government, Health, Law, Media, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Taxes, The Economy, Updates | , , , , | 2 Comments

The U.S. military resets the Intel operation in Aftghanistan……

In a report published this week, Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn, the top U.S. military intelligence officer in Afghanistan, said U.S. military and civilian analysts have focused too much on Afghanistan’s insurgent groups and will be redeployed to devote more attention to its complex tribal, cultural and economic dynamics……

The move comes after a quick review of the CIA walk bombing……

While the CIA team in that situation was concentrating on its mission….The collection material may not be what they military needs to do its job…….

“Eight years into the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. intelligence community is only marginally relevant to the overall strategy,” Gen. Flynn wrote. “History is replete with examples of powerful militaries that lost wars to much weaker opponents because they were inattentive to nuances in their environment.”

The General received this assessment from a report published by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a centrist Washington think tank.

It is unusual for a senior commander to release such an assessment in a nongovernmental venue, and a defense official said that the Pentagon was surprised and disappointed by the report’s publication by the think tank. The report’s authors wrote that they wanted to “broaden its reach” inside and outside the military by publishing it through CNAS.

In the end the changes are to address the ‘God’s Eye’ view vs the local view….

Gen. Flynn has the power to carry out the changes outlined in the report. He and his co-authors said they would overhaul intelligence gathering and analysis by creating teams of analysts who will focus on individual regions of the country, rather than on single issues such as narcotics. Gen. Flynn likened the analysts to journalists, and said they’d be directed to visit individual units throughout their regions to collect localized information.

I give the general kudos’ for going public and making adjustments to deal with the real world changes…something most politicians don’t do…….Bravo!

January 6, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Government, Media, Men, Military, Politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NW flight 235…..Another example of how hard it is to connect the dots……

As was the case on September 11, 2001…..the incident on Northwest flight 253 , from Amsterdam to Detroit, shows how authorities may have information…..but connecting the dots and acting on that information are two very different things…..

While the media goes batshit crazy on the story…..the fact remains…..that there simply is no way to guarantee something like will happen again…….

This person was on the ‘watch list’.

This person’s family tried to warn authorities of his problems….

This person was screened…….

This person had no bags….on an international trip…..

The author  of the linked piece correctly ends on the battle between privacy and security in a modern free society……when you add money and speed of travel to the equation involving millions of travels each year you are bound to have problems…..

I don’t pretend to have an answer….but nothing is fool-proof,  contrary to media claims…people should know that……

December 28, 2009 Posted by | Breaking News, Government, Law, Media, Politics, September 11, Travel | , , , | 6 Comments

On AG Eric Holder and holding the trials in New York City….

As I watched the nation’s top lawyer, Attorney General Eric Holder, explain that he would be putting five detainee’s from Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba on trial in a United States Federal Court in downtown New York City around the corner from the World Trade Center  I thought of several things…First …the New York City Police Department has 35,00 cops….along with the US Marshals..there won’t be any problem with security for the trial…..the symbolism was not hard to get….I smiled…but I caught the same thing everyone else in the room caught when someone asked Holder…..”What happens if they are not found guilty?”….I thought…”uh oh?!”…..

While the most pressing political thing is the move is to take care of a campaign problem…..Holder and his boss , The President may have created a bigger problem……..

If my memory serves me well….nNota lot of bad guys tried for terrorism by the FBI have been found guilty of the original charges…as a matter of fact most of them have ended up pleading down to lessor charges…a few even have had the government end up paying them money after they sued and only got them to promise not to come to the United States…..

My mind started to race…..Holder, after assuring everyone that he was sure that these people were guilty, began to slowly realize that he was a member of every court in the United States as AG, he then began to back away from the impression that he  was 1) Shopping for favorable judges, and 2) He was prejudging the verdict of the case in such a way that could prejudice any trail in America….

Now the Republicans aren’t stupid…and they have gone on overdrive to ask the question that reporter never got answered at the presser……’What happens if they are not found guilty?”

Sure the government could recharge them with other crimes…but the government loses cases….government lawyers sometimes get yanked off cases by judges…..and juries are the  arbitrators of  court cases….and you know we could have a situation where Holder is standing in front of a judge getting admonished that the defenders in a trial could have been found not guilty  by a jury and the judge expected them to go free……I can’t see that happening…but it could……

Note: After the move there will be about 215 more detainees at the Guantanamo Bay facility……

November 13, 2009 Posted by | Crime, Government, Law, Media, Military, Politics | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The US Government will need 270,000 NEW employee's in the next 3 years!…….

Yes ……you read that right……Your government needs to hire more than a quarter of a million NEW employee’s over the next 36 months according to a survey to be released in the next 12 hours. The jobs are in the  medical, security, law enforcement, legal and administrative fields……..to be fair…the final number could be smaller …or higher based on retirements, use of contractors and congress loosening of its purse strings for new hires………

These jobs have been identified as ‘mission critical’……..but….if you add up ALL of the jobs they expect to need in the next 36 months…….the number jumps to 600,000!….and folks……. the federal government expects to have trouble filling the jobs!….maybe it has something to do with Obama planning to cut the federal employee’s raise from 2.4% to 2.0%, in January….I’m sure that will be helpful…..

September 2, 2009 Posted by | Breaking News, Politics, The Economy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The US Government will need 270,000 NEW employee’s in the next 3 years!…….

Yes ……you read that right……Your government needs to hire more than a quarter of a million NEW employee’s over the next 36 months according to a survey to be released in the next 12 hours. The jobs are in the  medical, security, law enforcement, legal and administrative fields……..to be fair…the final number could be smaller …or higher based on retirements, use of contractors and congress loosening of its purse strings for new hires………

These jobs have been identified as ‘mission critical’……..but….if you add up ALL of the jobs they expect to need in the next 36 months…….the number jumps to 600,000!….and folks……. the federal government expects to have trouble filling the jobs!….maybe it has something to do with Obama planning to cut the federal employee’s raise from 2.4% to 2.0%, in January….I’m sure that will be helpful…..

September 2, 2009 Posted by | Breaking News, Politics, The Economy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment