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May 31, 2009

Stimulus Shrinks Economy

Stimulus Package Shrinks Economy, Destroys Private Sector Jobs
05/31/09 - OpenMarket by Hans Bader

This is only the last part:

[edited] A provision in the stimulus package that blocked a mere 97 Mexican truckers from U.S. roads "caused Mexico to retaliate with tariffs on 90 goods affecting $2.4 billion in U.S. trade", destroying 40,000 American jobs.

The vague "buy American" provisions of the stimulus, doing little to promote purchases of U.S. products, managed to ignite a trade war with Canada.

Obama's policies echo those of Herbert Hoover, who helped spawn the Great Depression through his protectionism and tax increases.

One of Obama's advisers admits that “the barrage of tax increases proposed in President Barack Obama’s budget could kill any chance of an early and sustained recovery.” Even the Washington Post, which endorsed Obama and once supported his auto bailouts, now has soured on them and their waste of taxpayer money.

Access vs Honest Reporting

An Open Letter to Amnesty International
05/29/09 - National Review by Michael Rubin

[edited] Eason Jordan is the chief news executive at CNN. After the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, he wrote The News We Kept to Ourselves about the balance between access and honest reporting. That balance affects many other fields as well. Autocratic regimes control visas (access) to influence reporting and other activities.

Journalists report from southern Lebanon under Hezbollah's eye, and from Gaza under the control of Hamas minders. Their reporting is followed. Crossing certain lines is a matter of life-and-death.

Untenured academics need access to country-based resources for their study of Iran, Chechnya, North Korea, or China. They will not acquire visas should their writing displease those governments. Without visas, they cannot do more research to compete for tenure.

The same is true for human-rights organizations. Their pronouncements are often taken at face-value by news outlets. In reality, they are intensely compromised organizations, often putting organizational interests above mission.

Fathi El Jahmi was Libya's most prominent dissident. He died this week while detained at the Tripoli Medical Centre since July 2007. His brother Mohamed El Jahmi wrote to Irene Khan, secretary general of Amnesty International. He asks whether Amnesty's desire to operate inside Libya led it to self-censor criticism of El Jahmi's detention and death.

Mohamed El Jahmi wrote:

[excerpt] Your organization received independent confirmation that Fathi was in very bad condition. While Fathi was in Jordan, Amnesty and other organizations were denied access to Fathi. Qadhafi’s regime has consistently objected to releasing Fathi’s medical record, why would it consider Amnesty’s gentle request now?.

For many months, the Qadhafi regime kept your organization neutralized – you couldn’t issue a press release because the regime was holding the access carrot in front of your eyes. You got your access and betrayed Fathi.

May 30, 2009

Obama and Sotomayor Are Anti-Gun

Sotomayor is Obama’s End Run on the Second Amendment
05/29/09 - Pajamas Media by Bob Owens

The Constitution protects your right to own guns. Sorry, Obama and Sotomayor interpret it as not applying to the individual States. This is the beauty of having a law professor as President.

[edited] The recent landmark case District of Columbia v. Heller put an end to decades of argument about the Second Amendment. The Supreme Court rejected 5-4 the collectivist interpretation favored by gun control advocates such as President Obama.

The Court found that the Second Amendment protects the right of citizens to own firearms for private use; that this is an individual right predating the Constitution; and that its authority is tied directly to the natural right of self-defense.

Six months after Heller, Sotomayor issued an opinion in Maloney v. Cuomo that the protections of the Second Amendment do not apply to the states. She found that your city or state can ban all guns and disarm you.

Such an opinion seems to fly directly in the face of Heller. This exposes Sotomayor as an anti-gun radical who believes that you have no right to own a firearm, even for the most basic right of defending your family in your own home.

The Supreme Court will hear an appeal of Maloney on June 26. Sotomayor would almost certainly have to recuse herself from Maloney if confirmed. But her views, so attractive to an anti-gun President, would be applied to similar cases appealed to the Court.

Obama was a director of the Joyce Foundation when it attempted to corrupt Second Amendment legal scholarship and undermine the decision-making processes of the Supreme Court. Only a concerted effort by America’s gun owners may keep Obama from appointing an anti-gun, activist judge to the Court.

May 29, 2009

First, Let's Pay All the Lawyers

A Stimulus You Can Believe In
05/29/09 - Overlawyered by Ted Frank

Opportunistic lawsuits are expensive for us all.

[edited] As I recently testified to Congress, I have formed a conservative estimate from these economic studies. Excessive litigation costs the economy $600 to $900 billion a year. The vast majority of this is simply wealth destruction. That is 4% to 6% of GNP, a tort (litigation for injury) tax of $8,000 to $12,000 a year for an average family of four.

May 28, 2009

Homeopathic Waterboarding (smile)

Homeopathic Waterboarding
05/28/09 - Throckmorton's Other Signs

The whole post is even funnier.

[edited] Waterboarding causes an intense feeling of distress and panic. Much like using a Nettie pot, I found out. With one of these, much hyped by Oprah, you twist your head back and pour water into your nose while it spouts out the other side, and down your throat and out your nose. This first caused much dread, panic, and a bit of suffocation.

When I first did this to treat my sinus infection, I would have given up my social security number and ATM pin to not have to do it again.

Now I pretty much waterboard myself whenever I have sinus problems.

May 25, 2009

Medical Rationing Details

How Will Medical Rationing Occur?
05/24/09 - MDOD by 911DOC

Dr. JN is a board certified Neurologist dealing with a flunky to get an MRI imaging test approved.

[edited] A 44 year old Rwandan woman with controlled HIV developed back pain with radiation down both legs. Bed rest and Advil don't work.

MRI Rejected by Medicaid "Not enough documentation, does not meet criteria". Call the MD line. Dr. X calls back, claims that he is a neurologist. "You're just too lazy to prescribe Advil, is that it? Or maybe you're just a chickenshit who doesn't want to get sued. You know it's nothing". Refused.

In 33 years out of school, no one has ever talked to me like that, least of all another physician.

Resubmitted with extensive documentation of infection risk in African patients with poor cellular immunity. Rejected.

Called again. Now they say, if I send her to a specialist and the specialist orders the MRI they'll do it. I AM a specialist.

5 weeks later, it's approved and finds a big spinal abscess, likely TB, cultures pending.

Can I Get Prior-Authorization To Kick Your Ass?
04/29/09 - MDOD by Lofty Zahari

[edited] Let me tell you how it usually goes when I try to get a wonderful, newer drug approved for my patients. I love Byetta and prescribe a ton of it. It is the only commonly-used drug for type 2 diabetes that lowers glucose AND helps patients lose weight. It often requires pre-approval from insurance carriers.

Dr. Lofty: Hi, I'm calling to get prior approval for Byetta for my patient.

CSR: And your question is?

Dr. Lofty: My question is, what information do you need to get this drug approved for my patient?

CSR: Yes (looks up questions to ask under 'Byetta protocol'). So, why does this patient need Byetta?

Dr. Lofty: Because they have gained 20 pounds over the past year on Actos and glyburide and in my experience I can get this patient's hemoglobin A1c down about 1% with about 20 pounds of weight loss using Byetta, and get them off of these other drugs.

CSR: I see. And what is the medical justification?

Dr. Lofty: I just told you the medical justification.

CSR: Yes, well, I'll need to fax over a two-page prior authorization form that will need to be filled out completely along with the last three chart notes documenting failure to achieve control with....

[Now, into the TWILIGHT ZONE, where we are magically free of social convention and can say what we wished we could say to one another ... ]

Dr. Lofty: Hey f---head with your G.E.D. diploma hanging on your cubicle wall, I went to f---ing medical school for four years, did three years of residency training plus a chief resident year, and have been practicing diabetes almost exclusively for ten years. My experience tells me this patient needs Byetta and I want him to have it NOW! Losing weight and shrinking the waist probably reduces cardiovascular risk in patients with type 2 diabetes.

CSR: Sir, we really don't give a flying f--- if your patient loses weight. We would prefer he or she remain on the cheaper, generic drugs that they are currently taking.

Dr. Lofty: Well, the patient sure would feel better in the long run losing twenty pounds and losing about 2 gallons of fluid from his legs.

CSR: Again, don't give a shit about this patient's quality of life. Too expensive to use this drug. This person won't be on our plan in two years, so we could give a rat's ass whether or not they lose weight or feel better. They'll be someone else's problem in two years.

Lateral Boomerangs
05/24/09 - Throckmorton's Other Signs by Throckmorton

Medicare makes the rules and people play the rules.

[edited] Medicare has a whole bunch of diagnoses that it will not pay for if a patient is discharged and readmitted within a short period of time. Nursing homes and extended care facilities are decreasing in number and want nothing to do with complicated patients, because of lawsuits and threats of lawsuits. Home care is the only option for patients that do not meet Medicare admission criteria and can't get into an extended care faclility. So, many go home and then need to be re-admitted.

The practical answer is to re-admit them at another hospital. A so-called "lateral".

A lot of folks went away for the holiday weekend, so they took grandma to the hospital! She was there 2 weeks ago for COPD breathing problems. The ER must admit her, but then the shell game starts to do the "lateral". Welcome to the world of federally managed healthcare.

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Why Test? You Are Already in the Hospital
It seems that Medicare wants to cut down on unneeded testing. The answer: Don't give the test at all if the patient is in the hospital. That will do it!

May 23, 2009

Efficiency Breakthrough: Small Cars With Small Engines

Fuel efficiency is an expensive option. Most of it comes from cars that are smaller, lighter, less powerful, and more dangerous in a crash.

Miles/gallon "mpg" is misleading. Gallons used per 100 miles "GP100" is a better indicator of savings. Going from 20 to 25 mpg (from 5 to 4 GP100) saves the same amount of gasoline as going from 25 mpg to 33.3 mpg (from 4 to 3 GP100).

To save an additional 1 gallon/100 miles, the car would need to get 50 mpg, a very difficult engineering challenge at high cost.

Dear Barack: Does your Chrysler 300C get 35.5 MPG?
05/22/09 - DirectorBlue.Blogspot.com
(Via RiehlWorldView)

From Car and Driver, May 2009 by Steve Siler and Mike Dushane:

[edited] Obama's proposed requirement raises fuel economy standards (CAFE) about 5% each year until 2016.

Trucks must go from 23 to 30 mpg (30% better miles per gallon), and passenger cars must go from 27.5 to 39 mpg (42% better), to achieve 35.5 mpg averaged overall.

Senators say these goals have been met in Europe. But, car for car, European vehicles aren't much more efficient than current US vehicles.

Take the Ford Focus sedan, a car that is about the same size in the US and in Europe.

  • The US basic Focus sedan costs $15,000, has a 140 hp engine, and is rated at 28 mpg combined by the EPA.
  • The German basic Focus sedan costs $20,000 (plus 19% tax!), has only a 79 hp engine, and would be rated at 30 mpg combined by the EPA (based on usual differences between US and EU test numbers).
Europeans pay $5,000 more for 56% of the power, and gain 7% fuel economy (the car travels 7% farther on a gallon of gas).

So, why is Europe's fleet so much more efficient overall? Europeans buy much smaller cars.

The Focus is one of the tinier mass-market cars sold in the US today, but it is a family car in Europe. The average European buys a car a few sizes smaller than a Focus. About one-half of Europeans buy diesels, which consume around 30% less fuel. Europeans have parking space limitations and small roads. If they drove the long distances we do, they likely would drive bigger cars, as we do.

Engineering options to meet the proposed requirements are costly.

  • Diesel engines led the efficiency revolution in Europe, but they are dirty. New particulate limits require thousands of dollars in extra costs for NASA-level catalytic converters.
  • Hybrid technology increases efficiency 30%, not the required 35%, and costs $4,000 - $10,000 according to vehicle size.
  • The GM Volt has an extended-range electric powertrain. GM does not give a cost, but industry sources estimate $10,000 more for a small car, with higher costs proportional to vehicle size.
  • Lightweight materials can help a few percent, but they are already in use and greater use would yield diminishing returns and massive cost.

The Obama administration estimates $1,300 more per car to meet mileage goals. This is absurd. Consumers would need to pay at least that AND move down a few vehicle sizes.

General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz predicts that the new CAFE standards will increase car prices by $4,000 - $10,000 per vehicle, averaging $6,000.

(Car and Driver continued ...)

Will US consumers buy these smaller cars?

The few such vehicles available today don't sell in large quantities because of their small size, poor performance, and high prices.

Sales of the Toyota Prius and other hybrids briefly shot up when gas cost $4 a gallon, but sales dropped with falling gas prices. Prius sales fell so much, beyond the overall declining market, that Toyota last year halted construction of a Prius factory in Mississippi. The best-selling vehicles in the US this year are the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks. Nobody is stopping these people from purchasing a Prius instead.

The Obama administration claims the new requirements will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over seven years (0.26 bbl/year). This assumes that people will want to buy new, expensive, tiny cars. If people instead purchase bigger, cheaper, used cars, there will be no reduction in oil consumption. Those used cars are the same "guzzlers" we are driving today.

Worse, the auto industry will continue to shrink from a decrease in new-car sales at higher prices.

How Much Oil and Money Will Be Saved?

According to US Government Energy statistics, US oil consumption for 2007 was 7.55 bbl (billion barrels) (20.68 million barrels/day). The 70% used for transportation was 5.29 bbl.

The claimed savings from stricter CAFE requiremnts is 0.26 bbl/year. That would save 4.9% of transportation oil (3.5% of all oil).

Here are the personal savings for 15,000 miles/year with gasoline at $3/gallon.

    Auto Efficiency, Fuel Use, and Present Value

  Miles       Price of         Discount
  /year       Gasoline           Rate
 15,000          $3.00           10%

         Gal      Fuel    Gal     Cash     10 Yr
 MPG    Used      Cost   Saved   Saved     Value
 ---    ----    ------   -----   -----    ------
27.5     545    $1,636      0     $  0    $    0
30.0     500    $1,500     45     $136    $  838
35.0     429    $1,286    117     $351    $2,155
39.0     385    $1,154    161     $483    $2,965

Excel spreadsheet for the above figures

You save 161 gal and $483 yearly if you drive 15,000 miles and increase efficiency from 27.5 to 39.0 mpg, pricing gasoline at $3/gal.

The "10 Year Value" is what 10 years of savings are worth to you today. Saving $483 each year for 10 years at 39 mpg totals $4,830. You must pay today for the car and its technology to get savings spread out in the future. These savings are worth $2,965 to you today, if you value the use of your money at 10%/year.

Say you are purchasing a car with a 10% auto loan. Paying $2,965 more for greater efficiency would just balance the savings on gas. You would save $4,830 in gas over time, but would also pay that amount in increased purchase price and financing costs.

What if you paid $5,000 more as in Germany now, and as conservatively predicted by Bob Lutz? The fuel savings are worth $2,965 to you, so you would lose $2,035 on the deal.

We must hope that:

  • The increased cost of the car is small
  • The claimed efficiency is true
  • There are no increased expenses and inconveniences for repairing or using the new technology
  • Used-car prices will hold up if you won't be keeping the car for the full 10 years.

The Obama adminstration expects to save .026 bbl of oil yearly, which I assume means gasoline. There are 42 gallons per barrel. That is 10.92 BGal of gas. If each new car saves 161 gallons/year, this would require replacing 68 million cars, or a smaller number of cars and trucks. Trucks usually travel more miles each year than autos.

So far in 2009, cars and light trucks together are selling at the rate of about 10 million/year. So, Obama's savings would require selling roughly 5 years of total car and light truck sales as efficient, expensive, new technology vehicles. This seems unreasonable to me, and needs a detailed explanation.


These results are what you will get after paying more for a smaller, less powerful car with lower safety. Smaller, lighter cars produce more deaths in auto accidents. This doesn't seem to be included in the government's considerations.

Obama’s new cars will cost more, and might kill you
5/21/09 - Louisville City Hall Examiner by Thomas McAdam

Since CAFE passed in 1975, smaller cars have killed almost 50,000 more people than otherwise would have died on the roads, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

A number of studies have documented the lethal consequences of requiring carmakers to improve fuel standards. [This results from making the cars lighter. -ag].

Gallons per 100 Miles

Buy an S.U.V., Save the Planet
06/02/2009 - Freakonomics by Eric A. Morris
[edited] We can improve fuel economy not through the onerous task of developing next-generation lithium-ion batteries but simply by getting people behind the wheels of more efficient SUV’s.

Upgrading an inefficient Range Rover SUV at 14 mpg to a more efficient RAV4 SUV at 24 mpg would save a lot of fuel. Actually, more fuel than switching from the RAV4 to the most fuel-efficient car on the market, the 2009 Toyota Prius at 46 mpg.

We have a policy option that is almost painless. Show car buyers the Gal/100 Miles figures instead of mpg. To be fair, car window stickers currently show annual estimated fuel cost. But the mpg figure takes center stage, much as it does throughout our society. Changing window stickers seems a lot easier than developing new generations of ultra-lightweight car body materials, and it could have a significant impact.

Moving SUV owners into the Prius is going to be a struggle. We should be happy if the public chooses more efficient SUV's, because the savings are still great. Consider driving 15,000 miles per year.

        Miles    Gal  /     Gal    Diff
         /Gal  100 Miles   Used   Saved
Rover     14      7.14    1,071 
Rav4      24      4.17      625     446
Prius     46      2.17      326     299

Let people motivate themselves by fuel savings within the category of car which they prefer. Don't force car purchases through mandates and tax policy. Show the savings and let consumers make the tradeoff between initial cost and future savings.

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A Car Wreck Made in Washington
CAFE standards have been used to protect auto unions, regardless of efficiency.

All opinions about automobiles

Correction: The first version of this post showed incorrect data for two days based on 30 mpg rather than the correct 39 mpg claimed efficiency.

May 21, 2009

Did You Love "Life After People" ?

Movie Reveals Truth About Environmentalism
05/18/09 - PajamasMedia by Andrew Klavan

... then you will love the new "The Day The Earth Stood Still".

[edited] The moviemakers as environmentalists worship Earth as a god, like the savages of old. They believe it’s worth hobbling civilization, at the very least, and killing the human race if it will save the precious Earth from destruction.

But why? What’s so great about the earth? It’s just a rock floating in space, after all. The only really interesting thing about it is that it happens to support life - and the only thing that makes life itself interesting is the consciousness capable of perceiving it.

That’s us, you environmental boneheads! The majesty of the whale, the grace of the leopard, the beauty of the sunset, even the blue of the sky - none of these even exists outside the imagination of man. And it’s that imagination that expresses itself, not just in the concertos of Bach and the plays of Shakespeare, but in our cities and factories and machines and systems of trade - in civilization itself.

Let’s conserve and replenish our natural resources for sure so we can keep building what we build. But it profits us nothing to save the world if we lose the achievements of humanity.

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A discussion of "Life After People"

May 20, 2009

The Will to Have Efficient Cars

How Will You Spend Your $2,800?
05/20/09 - CafeHayek by Don Boudreaux

[edited] President Obama has no experience as an entrepreneur or in the automotive industry, but has supposedly designed fuel-efficiency standards that he assures us will save the average car buyer $2,800 over the life of the vehicle.

No one in Detroit, Britain, Japan, Germany, Korea, Sweden, Italy, or France, and no one with decades of experience producing and selling automobiles has yet devised vehicles that are so obviously attractive as the ones now promised to us by the Obama administration.

We can admire Obama for freely offering his idea to the public. If his idea is workable, he could have earned billions by licensing his idea to auto companies. We are certainly lucky that he is simply forcing us to use his idea without charging for it.

+ + + + +

Magic Power
There seems to be a leftist belief that technologists are holding back the cheap, efficient world that they could deliver, if they would just stop being grasping and lazy. Why don't they just do the math and make everything work faster and better? Could the nerds give us cheap power if they wanted to?

Efficiency Breakthrough: Small Cars With Small Engines
The Obama administration estimates paying $1,300 more per car to meet mileage goals. This is absurd. Consumers would need to pay more AND move down a few vehicle sizes. See the European equivalents, engineering considerations, and the financing.

May 6, 2009

Good Guns Don't Make News

Observational Bias in Mass-Shooting Stories
05/06/09 - ChicagoBoyz by Shannon Love

[edited] Why do we spend so much money on fire proofing buildings when we seem to have so few major fires?

Instapundit links to a news story in which an armed college student prevented a mass killing. This story appeared only on the website of a local TV station.

There are no news stories about crimes that didn't happen because gun owners prevented them. This creates a one-sided distortion about the tradeoffs of having an armed citizenry. People only see the negative events caused by armed citizens, never the many, many positive events that don't make the news.

No one cares if planes land safely or if building don't burn down. When an armed citizen prevents a major crime, it is only local news. When the prospect of encountering an armed citizen causes a criminal to not attempt a crime, it doesn�t make news anywhere.

The "gun control" debate boils down to arguments between people who understand this distortion and those who don't.

May 5, 2009

Treasury Recalls All Dollars (smile)

Treasury Issues Emergency Recall of All U.S. Dollars
05/04/09 - Reason by Katherine Mangu-Ward

See the short video by The Onion. Very funny, if it doesn't become true. "Just put all of your money into the plastic bag and mail it in. Don't worry, in time you will earn it back."

Actions by the Federal Reserve that are somewhat similar.

Freedom Supports Our Humanity

Brooks channels Hayek
05/05/09 - CafeHayek by Russell Roberts

[edited] The classical liberal prescription for the good life is not about making as much money as possible. It's about the freedom to choose. It's about voluntary rather than coercive solutions, decentralized rather than centralized solutions, bottom-up solutions that are the result of many actions and actors rather than top-down solutions by experts.

Unfortunately, economists, Republicans, and columnists often use "the market" to mean only economic freedom. Most people take it to mean the stock market, or at most the monetary parts of our lives. (This seems to promote economics at the expense of community. -AG)

People ask how the poor can possibly survive if there is more liberty? Or they argue that the market "delivers the goods" but produces inequality. Some respond that economic freedom does indeed help the poor. They're right, but that doesn't comfort the skeptic who is worried about today's poor.

Freedom doesn't mean poor people starving. Freedom means that the government doesn't try to solve the problem of poverty, but rather it leaves the door open to voluntary community rather than coerced community.

Pocketbook issues are important, but they don't inspire. Freedom is important not because it makes us rich, but because it makes our lives more meaningful. Freedom does let us prosper, and it also lets us express what is important about our humanity. Top down approaches deaden that humanity.

May 3, 2009

Bombing Japan Was Not a War Crime

War Criminals and The True Story of the Atomic Bombs
05/01/09 - Pajamas TV by Bill Whittle (video 17 min)

( Wait through the one minute PJTV introduction )

Bill Whittle speaks fast, clearly, and makes his points. War is life versus life. Japan was led by a fanatic military and supported by a civilian religious subservience to the Emperor of Japan. The Japanese military had promised the Emperor that 20 million kamakase civilians would repel the Americans with their lives.

US Atomic weapons killed over 200,000 Japanese military and civilians. Conventional weapons had aleady killed more. Like today's terrorists, Japanese military factories and installations were dispersed among the civilian population.

A prolonged war would have killed millions on both sides. The Japanese military was willing to make this sacrifice, and admitted this later. Atomic weapons convinced the Emperor that peace was the better option, and saved those lives.

Consider the circumstances, the will of Japan, their military ruling party and philosophy, and the careful warnings made by the US military. The use of atomic weapons was not a war crime.

Personal Experience of Terrorism

Storm Windows
05/02/09 - Cara Ellison

An experience of the 9/11/2001 attack on New York. An excerpt.

That was it. Everything was gone.

He knew this on some instinctive level, though he had no time to really understand what that meant. He rolled from underneath an SUV, jelly-legs, and looked around.

The building would not stop collapsing. It came down, then the giant clouds of dust, coffee cups, motherboards, phones, people, a burning Pompeii in the sky. Now the air was full of dust lighter than air, floating on the currents. When he rubbed his eyes, they stung. He tasted gritty metal in his mouth, and he spat on the ground.
. . .
It was all gone. His wife. His job. He tried to wash off the dust. The dust was in his nose, in the seashell curves of his ear, between his teeth, under his fingernails, in his hair. He lifted his face to the stream of water.

May 1, 2009

A Budget to Infinity, and Beyond

Obama Victory on 2010 Budget
04/29/09 - MarketWatch by Robert Schroeder

Democrats have repealed Obama's middle class tax cut, effective just after the November 2010 elections.

[quotes are edited]

The budget resolution preserves Obama's domestic priorities and cuts the yearly federal budget deficit (yearly borrowing) by almost two-thirds in five years.

While it would cut the deficit in the short term, the budget would also increase deficits over the next 10 years by more than $2 trillion ($2,000 billion).

"More than $2,000 billion" is an error. The deficit will increase by that much just in 2009. The actual figure is about $10,700 billion over the next 11 years, from CBO estimates of past and future deficits graphed below. That is $10.7 trillion, 75% of the $14.3 trillion total US production in 2008.

The 2007 deficit was $168 billion under Bush. The 2008 deficit was about $500 billion (3 times larger), in part due to a Bush stimulus package. Did you notice the improvement from that stimulus? There was not much improvement, but the money did disappear.

The 2009 deficit was crafted by Democrats in control of Congress, and is now vastly increased by Obama's policies. The 2009 deficit is going to be about $1,850 billion ($1.85 trillion), 3.7 times the 2008 Bush deficit, and 11 times the 2007 Bush deficit.

The following graph from the Washington Post presents Congressional Budget Office (CBO) data on past and projected deficits. The Heritage Foundation compares this spending by Bush and Obama.

wapoobamabudget1 at Washington Post

After 5 years of accumulating debt, a two-thirds reduction would make the yearly deficit $615 billion. Private estimates are higher. That is a "reduction" to a yearly level that is more than Bush's splurge. Then, the yearly deficit increases even according to Obama's estimates.

The tax burden goes up with all government spending. A deficit represents a delay in collecting that tax, like spending on a credit card. The things that government buys today are taken out of what you can buy tomorrow.

Bush spent to "save the economy". That splurge of spending in each of two years is being multiplied 3.7 times in 2009, and the future "cut" is from this level of $1,850 billion.

The bill pares back some of Obama's initiatives. For example, it allows his $400/worker  ($800/couple) tax cuts to expire at the end of 2010.

Obama's "tax cut for 95% of Americans" is ending, after a run of two years, just after the 2010 elections. Obama's priorities make that tax rebate unsustainable. It was sustainable only as a promise before election.

House Republican Leader John Boehner correctly sums it up:

This bill spends an awful lot of money, it raises a lot of taxes, and it puts all of this debt on the backs of our kids and our grandkids.

Don't worry, you will get a chance to pay off some of this debt. It won't all go to your children. (smile)

The House resolution includes a "pay as you go" requirement for four bills later this year, about the alternative minimum tax, Medicare payments to doctors, adjusting the estate tax, and extending middle-class tax cuts.

"Pay as you go" means that Congress is promising now to raise taxes to pay for any new spending. The "rich" top 5% (above $150,000 incomes) paid $613 billion in 2006 federal income taxes. Will they be made to pay 2.6 times that amount, or will the middle class also pay for these dramatic spending increases? I have faith in the middle class. (smile)

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2006 Tax Comparisons
See what you, your neighbor, and the rich guy are already paying in income tax.

The Real Tax Burden
The amount of tax that a government imposes is the amount it spends. The timing and amount of tax collections is merely finance.

Econ 201: The Myth of the Economic Multiplier
Government spending doesn't multiply anything. It takes resources from taxpayers and applies them to government projects. You get a bridge or some paperwork, that is it.