What We Need To Know About Federal Spending

Talking about foreign aid and the defense budget is like comparing a blueberry to a watermelon. Foreign aid spending is tiny while defense dollars are massive.   With federal spending on foreign aid, defense, Medicare and Medicaid in the headlines, let’s…

When is $4 Billion Chump Change?

Included in the discretionary section of the federal budget, at $4 billion or so, Air Force One is a very small part of government spending.

Weekly Roundup: From Burgers to Boomer Demographics

Our everyday economics includes disposable income,competition,externalities, standardization,entrepreneurs,federal budget, R&D, labor and dependency ratios.

How the U.S. Budget Takes Us to Another Galaxy

Within the discretionary spending slice of the government spending pie, research and development at the NSF is a tiny part of the federal budget.

A Speedy Summary of Spending in the US Federal Budget

Right now, the Congress is supposedly debating the 2015 federal budget. Because the new fiscal year begins October 1, their deadline is September 30. But not really. 1996 was the last time the House and Senate punctually approved all necessary…

One Reason That $1.1 Trillion is Not So Much

The Congress just agreed on $1.1 trillion in federal spending. But let’s look a bit more closely… Each year, I give my class a federal budget graph and ask them to identify the relative size of 17 main spending categories.…

Big Bird’s Issues

All the talk about Big Bird and federal funding is really about 2 much bigger issues. 1. Discretionary Spending With proposed spending in the Obama 2013 budget at 3.7 trillion dollars, a tiny proportion–between 1 and 2 percent, goes to the…

A Tank of Gas

A tank of gas is not just a tank of gas. Isn’t it a spending decision? The national average for a gallon of regular is close to $3.88 and higher in California. July 2008 was the last time we dealt…

A Budget Cut Mirage

Reacting to concern about the federal deficit, the Republican leadership seems to be targeting $100 billion in discretionary spending cuts. Similarly, for his fiscal 2012 budget, President Obama recommends a 5-year freeze on non-security discretionary spending. Both proposals sound like…

A Federal Workers Cost Cutting Contest

Last year’s winning idea for the second annual federal worker’s cost cutting contest (SAVE) was from A Department of Veterans Affairs employee. Scheduled for the fiscal 2012 budget, the suggestion will save a projected $14.5 million by 2014 by enabling…