It’s been many years in the making, but spending data from the U.S. Federal Government is now all unified in one source that can be accessed by anyone. The significance of this cannot be overstated – every single department of the government is now reporting data to the U.S. Treasury in a common format.
The data puts records of accounts, budgets, grants, and contracts all in one place, and links this information together in way that has never been done before. Everyday citizens, journalists, and data scientists will be able to see how the government spends money with one consolidated view. Further, this harmonization of accounts will also help to boost transparency, making it easier to spot inefficiencies, waste, and fraud at the federal level. Here’s an example of a “big picture” output – a view of all 2016 spending in one easy chart.
His solution at the time? To harmonize all government expenditures in one place:
If to this can be added a simplification of the form of accounts in the treasury department, and in the organization of its officers, so as to bring everything to a single centre, we might hope to see the finances of the Union as clear and intelligible as a merchant’s books, so that every member of Congress, and every man of any mind in the Union, should be able to comprehend them, to investigate abuses, and consequently to control them.
– Thomas Jefferson, Library of Congress (1802)
As anticipation for President Donald J. Trump’s first budget release in the next few weeks reaches a crescendo, there is much debate about whether cutting the deficit should be a priority for the administration. Apparently most American voters think it should be. In a unique survey in which respondents made up their own Federal budget, majorities proposed a combination of spending cuts and revenue increases that would reduce the deficit for 2018 by at least $211 billion. There were partisan differences, but Republicans and Democrats did agree on $86 billion in deficit reductions. The findings were released today by the nonpartisan organization, Voice Of the People.
In the survey, which was conducted by the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation (PPC), a representative sample of 1,817 voters were presented discretionary spending for FY 2017 (broken into 31 line items), and sources of general revenues, actual and proposed. They were then given the opportunity to modify both spending and revenues, getting feedback as they went along about the effect of their choices on the projected deficit. Respondents were not instructed to reduce the deficit, and were able to both increase or decrease spending or revenues.
Overall, majorities cut spending a net of $57 billion. While both Democratic and Republican members of Congress are planning for increases in spending on national defense for 2018, this was the area that received the biggest cut from the public– majorities cut it by $39 billion. Other significant cuts were for subsidies to agricultural corporations ($5 billion), intelligence agencies ($4 billion), homeland security ($2 billion), the State Department ($2 billion) and the space program ($2 billion), plus smaller trims in other areas. The one area to be increased was the development of alternative energy and energy efficiency, which was increased by $2 billion (a 100% increase).
The biggest changes, though, were on the revenue side, which were increased a total of $154.2 billion. The biggest source of revenues ($63.3 billion) arose from increases in personal income taxes for higher earners. Those with incomes over $100,000 saw their taxes go up 5 percent, while those with incomes over $1 million had increases of 10 percent.
“Clearly Americans are concerned about the deficit and are ready to make some tough choices to bring it down—more than Congress is even ready to consider,” said PPC Director Steven Kull.
Other major increases came from an increase in taxes on capital gains and dividends from 23.8 percent to 28 percent ($22 billion), a new transaction fee on financial transactions of 0.01 percent ($20 billion), a 5 percent increase on corporate taxes ($17 billion), a tax on sugary drinks of $.05 an ounce ($9 billion), an increase in the estate tax ($7.8 billion), a tax on alcohol ($7 billion), a fee to banks who have large amounts of uninsured debt ($6 billion), and repeal of the ‘carried interest’ tax break for fund managers ($2.1 billion).
There were significant partisan differences. Republicans only cut $5 billion from defense, while Democrats cut $91 billion. Republicans cut $9 billion from education, while Democrats increased it $3 billion. Republicans cut environmental spending by $6 billion, while Democrats raised it by $1 billion. Most Republicans did not join in on increases to corporate taxes, estate taxes, and taxes on sugary drinks.
Nonetheless, Democrats and Republicans did converge on $86 billion in deficit reductions, including $69.2 billion in revenue increases and $17 billion in spending cuts.
Overall, Democrats made the largest reductions to the deficit of $306.5 billion, with $96 billion in net reductions to spending and $210.5 billion in revenue increases. Republicans made total deficit reduction of $134.2 billion, with $65 billion in spending reductions and $69.2 in revenue increases.
In the survey (conducted March 8–16, 2017), respondents went through an online process called a ‘policymaking simulation’ that gives the users information and seeks to put them in the shoes of a policymaker. The content was vetted in advance by Congressional staffers from both parties and other experts to assure accuracy and balance.
The sample was provided by Nielsen Scarborough from its sample or respondents, recruited by mail and telephone using a random sample of households. The margin of error for the sample of 1,817 voters was (+/-) 2.3 percent.
Venitism is a new paradigm in economics and politics.
Black Hole: Taxation is armed robbery that feeds the black hole of political corruption; it’s the perfect index of corruption and tyranny.
Constitution: The only purpose of a constitution is to protect citizens from government abuse. Reform treaties of a confederation, such as the Lisbon Treaty of EU, not voted by the citizens are null and void.
Corruption: Political corruption is proportional to the square of the size of the government.
Democracy: Every democracy is eventually hijacked by rabblerousers, pullpeddlers, clans of kleptocrats, bumptious bugaboos, busybodies, butterbabies, nabobs of nepotism, cranks of cronyism, pusillanimous pussyfooters, riffraffs of rascals, socialist sophists, and Machiavellian mafiosi. Democracy tends to kleptocracy. Anarchy should replace democracy.
Depression: Only governments can cause economic depressions and funny money. Lower tax rates, a reduction in the burden of government, and elimination of kleptocracy and VAT are the only way to boost growth.
Education: There is no direct relationship between education and schooling. You might be schooled but uneducated, and you might be educated but unschooled. Schools are concentration camps for the drones of society. Unschooling is much better than schooling. Internet is the best source of knowledge and information, replacing schools, libraries, media, parliaments, and postoffice.
Environment: The best way to save the environment is vasectomy. Deadly viruses are Gaia’s antibiotics against the cancer of overpopulation.
Equality: Death is the only equalizer. Egalitarianism brings death to society, transforming citizens to zombies.
Government: The only purpose of government is to protect citizens from criminals. Public services, central banks, and fiat money should be abolished.
Heroism: Entrepreneurs, innovators, anarchists, and heretics are the real heroes.
Insurance: Citizens with proper individual retirement accounts and health savings accounts should be allowed to opt out of State Insurance.
Intervention: Any government intervention deteriorates an existing trend. Laissez-faire is the only progressive policy.
Laws: All laws that citizens are required to know should not exceed 300 pages. When a new law is born, another law must die.
Legislature: Parliaments should be abolished, because they continuously create laws that enslave citizens, constrain economic activity, loot producers, reward drones, and encourage political corruption.
Misery: Throwing money to misery brings more misery.
Money: A deluge of fiat money brings financial plague and haemorrhage of economy. Real money is tied up to precious metals and strategic metals.
Privacy: Nobody, including your government, has the right to break into your home, your land, your accounts, your computer, your files, and your secrets. You have the natural right to protect your privacy from intruders. Molon Labe!
Property: Governments should not own or regulate any property, including electromagnetic waves. The first individual who improves or cultivates any unclaimed property is entitled to that property. Governments cannot own, allocate, regulate, or manipulate frequency fields and media. Eminent domain is null and void.
Religion: God delusion is a neurosis of hoi polloi and escape from reality. Faith is retarded thinking, opposite of reason.
Selfownership: You own your body and your soul, and nobody should dictate what you take in and what you take out. Speech, education, heresy, habeas corpus, military service, mating, healthcare, food, abortion, cloning, drugs, guns, and euthanasia should be personal choices.
Style: Your soul needs to resonate with mighty words and unique acts that express your style and destiny. Your government cannot dictate your language, your words, and your culture. Resonate now and sing your song!
System: The most efficient political system is anarchy, where everything is private, there are no taxes at all, there is no government, and there is no parliament. Government has deteriorated to a racket that benefits the political elite by taking money from all people.
Taxes: Taxes destroy the economy. Raising tax rates is masochism. Smart stimulus is to cut tax rates. Stupidus stimulus is to increase spending, which stimulates the cancer of statism!