Posts filed under “Mathematics”

About Our “Spending Problem” (Revisited)

@TBPInvictus here

It’s a well established fact that the Obama administration has been spending like a drunken sailor since the day he was inaugurated. I first wrote about his spendthrift ways here, toward the end of 2010 (has it already been three years?).

Some time has now passed, so how’s it going? Let’s take another look at Federal government spending – including and excluding defense – for the last five administrations, indexed to 100 in the first quarter of each administration.

First the overall picture:

fgce

Now, let’s strip out the defense portion:

fndefx

Please think of these two charts the next time you hear someone say, “We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.” Present these charts and ask precisely where that spending problem is.

What goes on at the state and local level also obviously impacts the trajectory of our economy, including GDP and our employment picture. While the Federal government does not have direct control of state and local economics, it is certainly a meaningful indirect influence, as Federal policies ripple through state capitals and subsequently through local town halls.

Here’s what that picture looks like over the past five administrations:

state and local

[NOTE: Gotta say, the degree of state and local austerity surprised even me.]

Put it all together, and this is what government at all levels has added to (or subtracted from) GDP for the past five years:

govt cont to gdp

Finally, and sadly, the NY Times ran an article last week about the deleterious effects already being felt by the recent cut in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, otherwise known as food stamps). The damage being done to those who can least afford it cannot be overstated. Beyond the pain it is inflicting on the poor, the adverse “trickle up” effect is already taking hold:

The cuts are also hurting stores in poor neighborhoods. The average food stamps household receives $272 a month, which then passes into the local economy.

At a Food Lion in Charleston where as many as 75 percent of the shoppers use food stamps, managers were bracing for lower receipts as the month wore on.

At a Met Foodmarket in the Bronx, where 80 percent of the 7,000 weekly customers use food stamps, overall food sales have already dropped by as much as 10 percent.

“I wasn’t expecting it to be that fast,” said Abraham Gomez, the manager. Losing that much revenue could mean cutting back hours for employees, he said.

For some perspective on the SNAP program, here’s how it stacks up versus our spending on defense:

gunsvbutter

Source: BEA Table 3.12 Government Social Benefits and BEA Table 3.11.5. National Defense Consumption Expenditures and Gross Investment by Type

Category: Bad Math, Current Affairs, Data Analysis, Economy, Really, really bad calls

What Do Hedge Funds Spend On Regulatory Compliance?

Every now and then, I read an article that is factually accurate, technically correct — and utterly misleading. Items like this are “accurate but false” as they leave the reader with an impression of something that is incorrect. Because the world is nuanced and not black and white, the sum of many facts, statistics and…Read More

Category: Bad Math, Hedge Funds, Regulation

Tax Rates, Inequality, and US Deficits

Its Friday, after what was for me a long and annoying 17 days. But the shutdown is over, US markets are at all time highs, and Bob Shiller got his Nobel (more on this tomorrow). You might think that I would be at peace with the current state of the world, but life is never…Read More

Category: Economy, Mathematics, Philosophy, Taxes and Policy

The Truth About the Deficit

Yesterday, I was on Pete Dominick’s Sirius XM Satellite radio show (audio below). A caller asked about how to close the deficit. His comments revealed that his concern about the deficit was merely a ruse, a tool to be used to achieve very different goals. If you are truly concerned about deficit, then what you…Read More

Category: Mathematics, Politics, Really, really bad calls

What makes us bad investors?

What makes us bad investors? from morganhousel by morganhousel on Jul 14, 2013

Category: Investing, Mathematics, Psychology, Think Tank

Twelve Musical Tones

Vi Hart, explores the nature of randomness and pattern, using Stravinsky’s 12-tone music as a starting-point and rocketing through constellations, the nature of reality. Twelve Tones hat tip boingboing

Category: Mathematics, Music, Weekend

Does Math Exist or Is It a Human Creation?

Math is invisible. Unlike physics, chemistry, and biology we can’t see it, smell it, or even directly observe it in the universe. And so that has made a lot of really smart people ask, does it actually even EXIST?!?! Similar to the tree falling in the forest, there are people who believe that if no person existed to count, math wouldn’t be around . .at ALL!!!! But is this true? Do we live in a mathless universe? Or if math is a real entity that exists, are there formulas and mathematical concepts out there in the universe that are undiscovered? Or is it all fiction? Whew!! So many questions, so many theories… watch the episode and let us know what you think!

Is Math a Feature of the Universe or a Feature of Human Creation? | Idea Channel | PBS

Hat tip boingboing

Category: Mathematics, Philosophy, Video

Possible versus Probable

Its Friday, and has become my wont, this is the day of the week I like to kick back, wax philosophical about various thoughts kicking about me noggin. One of the things that I have been noticing of late is the way so many people seem to confuse facts with forecasts. Twitter is rife with…Read More

Category: Hedge Funds, Investing, Mathematics, Philosophy, Venture Capital

Most Human Males Never Retired (they just died)

Click to enlarge Source: The Motley Fool   “The entire concept of retirement is unique to the late-20th century. Before World War II, most Americans worked until they died.”   The quote above is from Morgan Housel. He has become the most consistently interesting writer on Motley Fool (a site I never really grokked). I was reminded…Read More

Category: 401(k), Employment, Investing, Mathematics

How You Are Unlikely to Die

Awesome graphic via The Economist: click for giant graphi

Category: Digital Media, Mathematics, Weekend