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2013 NY Constitutional Admendments
First Amendment
Role of Government
Role of Law
Second Amendment

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Federal Deficit In 2009 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars

The federal deficit is larger then it used to be in the past. But at the same time, the population has grown and there are more taxpayers then in years past. More importantly, the economy has grown, so there is more money to counteract the inflationary pressures of deficit spending. See also my graph of the deficit by percentage of the GDP:

Data Source: Historical Tables, Table 1.3—Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits (-) in Current Dollars, Constant (FY 2009) Dollars, and as Percentages of GDP: 1940–2021.

I was reading about the Massive Ordinance Bombs with it’s $16 million dollar cost, and was thinking, “more wasteful government spending”. It comes after dropping about $50 million in Tomahawk bombs on Syria.

I though President Donald Trump was against government waste. $16 millions could replace a highway bridge in America, and $50 million could build a new school. With our country facing such large deficits, we should seriously be looking at every penny we spend, and looking how we can ramp down government spending, while becoming a fairer, more just and sustainable society.

I’m starting to think Donald Trump is the king of government waste. He by no means lives frugally, instead preferring to take a jet trip down to Florida every week, and maintaining secret service protection both in the White House  and at his Condo in New York. Yet, he should be setting the model for cutting waste out of government. He has not proposed to cut wasteful military programs, or take commonsense measures that could save billions but only marginally increase the risk for the vast majority of Americans.

One of the most difficult to cost but costly services in society is our military, and their paramilitary equivalent at local, state and federal level — our first responders. Yes, we all want to have police to come when we are victimized by crime, when we get into an accident, we want the ambulance to come and when our house is on fire, the firefighters to come. We don’t want terrorists and foreign nations invading our country. That’s a given. But they all need to economize too.

For too long, our country has not asked the military to economize. As the world’s superpower, do we really need more bombs? We had plenty of killing technology during World War II. Why do we need more? We’ve not asked our police forces to work with fewer officers and older cars. Firearms that are well maintained rarely need replacement. We’ve not asked fire departments to hold onto their trucks longer, and for ambulance drivers to use older, less effective rescue equipment. Engines can be rebuild and rust can be patched to get more years out of equipment. But maybe it’s time to ask all of government to economize — especially when government spending is so out of control.

It’s great that we save so many lives — but if we could save somewhat fewer lives — we could save taxpayers lot of money. Less military, less police, less firefighters and less emergency medical professionals means lower taxes. Getting more use of existing but somewhat worn-out equipment means lower taxes. We could live with slightly more terrorism and crime and slightly more fire destruction, without making life much different for most people. We could have a slightly more people die in car crashes due to delayed emergency responses — and save society billions. Safety is important, as is having a strong military, but it’s also important government economizes. 

Federal Funding Provided to NY State by Source

Medicaid matching grants and other funding is the largest part of federal assistance received by the state, totaling $33.5 billion or 63.2% of all federal funding. It is followed by Essential Plan Funding, which is the low-income insurance provided by the Affordable Care Act (aka "Medicaid Expansion Funding") at $3.75 billion or 7.0% of the state's federal funding. Next is TANF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, aka welfare, at $3.65 billion or 6.9% of the state's share of federal funding. Federal education aid to the state is $2.72 billion or 5.1% of the state's federal funding.

Data Source: FPI, Federal Funding Brief.

17-18 Executive Proposal for State Budget, Revenue Sources

The single largest source of revenue for the State of New York is federal grants, at $54,265 million or 34% of state's all funds budget. The second largest revenue source is the personal income tax at $50,683 million or 32% of the state's all fund budget.

Data Source: Executive All Funds Budget, Revenue, Yellow Book, Page 16.

Age of Supreme Court Judges including Retirees, 1970-2017

This chart shows the age of every Supreme Court Justice appointed after 1970, including those who have retired or deceased. Those justices who retired or deceased are highlighted dark gray, and their age is the year they left the court. Elena Kagan at age 56 is the youngest and most recently appointed Supreme Court justice. Two justices -- Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Ginsberg are above 80 and are highlighted in red. Justice Stephen Bryer, highlighted in yellow is age 70. Remaining justices, are under age 70.

Votes on Supreme Court Nominees, 1970-present

Traditionally, Supreme Court Justices have been approved by the United States Senate by nearly the entire body. Only one nominee, Robert Bork has been voted down by the US Senate, 48-52. Clarence Thomas was approved by only 52-48, and the only other narrow margin was Samuel Alito at 58-42 (two short of a filibuster-proof majority). Barack Obama's nominees were approved 68-31 Sotomayer an 63-31 Kagan. While confirmations have become more partisan in recent years, generally most nominees are ultimately approved with 60 percent plus of the vote.