Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Budget Deficit Estimation...

Re(1): 'Annual Unemployment Rate', US Bureau of Labor
Re(2): 'GDP', US Department of Commerce
Re(3): 'GDP Growth Rate', US Department of Commerce

We have a reducing unemployment rate


FY2000 - 4.0%
FY2001 - 4.7%
FY2002 - 5.8%
FY2003 - 6.0%
FY2004 - 5.5%
FY2005 - 5.1%

We have GDP Growth

GDP Growth

FY2000 - 3.7%
FY2001 - 0.8%
FY2002 - 1.6%
FY2003 - 2.7%
FY2004 - 4.2%
FY2005 - 3.5%

And, we have an accelarating GDP

GDP (In Billions)

FY2000 - 9,817
FY2001 - 10,128
FY2002 - 10,469
FY2003 - 10,971
FY2004 - 11,743
FY2005 - 12,479

And, now for the spreadsheet (uuuggghhh, as a stupid picture )-:)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Federal Budget Deficit - MoveOn Libs, nothing to see here

re(1): 'Gummint', www.polipundit.com, Jayson
re(2): 'January 2006 Budget Statement', U.S. Treasury
re(3): 'FY2005 Budget Statement', U.S. Treasury
re(4): 'January 2005 Budget Statement', U.S. Treasury
re(5): 'FY2004 Budget Statement', U.S. Treasury
re(6): 'January 2004 Budget Statement', U.S. Treasury
re(7): 'FY2003 Budget Statement', U.S. Treasury
re(8): 'January 2003 Budget Statement', U.S. Treasury

To all,

I have been spending all day (all weekend, actually) trying to place an HTML table in a blog entry on this fine Blogger driven page... Stupid thing places a billion blank lines (which cannot be deleted) before the table appears. Very nice, and a known bug with no real resolution...

So folks, as of now you get no raw data... What a raw deal...

The basic gist of the whole thing was to inform my few (and getting fewer) readers that it looks as if the Federal budget deficit is shrinking. It looks to be between:

286 Billion (taken from reviewing Actual/January ratios)


316 Billion (taken from the reviewing Actual/CBO ratios)

That is a far cry from the origininal FY2006 CBO estimate of 423 Billion...

I would put my money on the lower number, and even go lower than that... By the way, I slogged through emails I send to friends every once in a while. I missed last years deficit number by about 9 Billion - I figured it to be about 325 Billion. The CBO figured FY2005's deficit at 426 Billion - so they missed it by only 101 Billion.

Anyone remember President Bush's campaign pledge to cut the deficit in half by FY2009 (his last budget). Well guess what, the CBO estimate for FY2004 was 520 Billion - in reality it came in at about 412 Billion, missing the mark by 108 Billion - good enough for government work. Last year (FY2005) the CBO estimate missed the target by only 101 Billion. He was sitting at 318 Billion at the end of FY2005. Thus, President Bush has to shave off about 25 Billion over the next three years in a growing economy, with conservative electorate pressing to reduce expenses, and with the wind down of Iraq.

Hhhhhmmmm, can he make it?

Me thinks so

I think he will make it even if a couple of hundred thousand American military personnel make an unexpected visit to a nation steeped in the history of Xerxes and Darius and Alexander and Sulla.

Me thinks my el Presidente will be looking quite rosy when he troops about the nation campaigning for squishy Republicans.

And Jayson, where is the Hooverville remark in your post. How am I to find it in the future. Certainly the Libs expect a better unemployment rate that 4.9% and a rapidly shrinking deficit. They are fighting goverment expenditures with every breath they take. I can just see their campaign - 4% unemployment and a deficit of 2% will crush the poor, disabled, and elderly!!!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Virtue, Freedom, and Cartoons

Re(1): 'Land of the Free', National Review, Dinesh D'Souza

Virtue without Freedom is a mere echo of itself…

The recent Islamic and Western uproar regarding the Mohammad cartoons remineds me of a Dinesh D’Souza debate on competing values of Virtue and Freedom in the West and Islam.

To Summarize:

A second problem, Qutb wrote, is that the core principle of America is liberty — the right to determine one's own destiny — and this, he argued, is a highly defective principle. The reason is that liberty can be used well or liberty can be used badly. Given what Immanuel Kant called "the warped timber of humanity," the human propensity for selfishness and vice, Qutb argued that freedom will
often be used badly.

This, in brief, is Qutb's defense of Islamic theocracy. Islamic societies may be poor, Qutb admitted, but at least they are seeking to implement the will of God. Even if they are failing at this, Qutb said, at least they are trying. And that — he concluded — makes Islamic society superior to Western society.

But if freedom brings out the worst in people, it also brings out the best. The millions of Americans who live decent, praiseworthy lives deserve our highest admiration because they have opted for the good when the good is not the only available option. Even amid the temptations that a rich and free society offers, they have remained on the straight path. Their virtue has special luster because it is freely chosen. The free society does not guarantee virtue any more than it guarantees happiness. But it allows for the pursuit of both — a pursuit rendered all the more meaningful and profound because success is not guaranteed but has to be won through personal striving.

By contrast, the theocratic and authoritarian society that Islamic fundamentalists advocate undermines the possibility of virtue. If the supply of virtue of insufficient in free societies, it is almost nonexistent in Islamic societies, because coerced virtues are not virtues at all. Consider the woman in Afghanistan or Iran who is required to wear the veil. There is no real modesty in this, because the woman is being compelled. Compulsion cannot produce virtue; it can only produce the outward semblance of virtue.

Why does the Mohammad cartoon confrontation remind me of D’Souza’s discussion on the two basic building blocks of our two very different civilizations?

That is easy to answer:

  1. The West may deride the stupidity of choice that led to the confrontation – but will never challenge the freedom to choose the action. A denial of the freedom to proceed as these editors did implies that brilliant and valued decisions of these selfsame editors are forever thus coerced.
  2. On the other hand, Islam cannot amend itself to accept ridicule of its cultural heritage – and will strike those who challenge it even if they ultimately fail, because at least they are trying to attain and/or retain virtue. The graven and churlish and ridiculous images of ‘The Prophet’ – by the infidel, no less - cannot be countenanced.
  3. Islam seeks coercive action from the state to resolve the issue – because the state, no matter how impure, must submit in some way to Allah.
  4. The West seeks resolution through free expression of opposing views, shame, and other ideas – because opposing ideas are freely expressed; let the best win.

Now the question:

Are the barbaric acts of violence a result of virtue or coercion or both? Since the question must be asked, the answer is provided.


I am hardening...

My steel is tempering…