Tuesday 10 April 2012 at 9:34 pm

America's Debt Is Greater than Entire Eurozone's (and U.K.'s) Combined Debt

The Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee will release this chart later today, clearly showing that America's debt is greater than the combined debt of the entire Eurozone and the U.K.:

As the chart shows, America's debt is currently $15.1 trillion, while the Eurozone (which includes France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, the U.K., and others) has a combined debt of $12.7 trillion. (All dollar amounts are in U.S. dollars, and the data refers to closing 2011 numbers.)

The Eurozone is larger than the United States, so America's debt per capita also exceeds the Eurozone's. According to the Census Bureau, the U.S. has a population of 313 million, whereas the Eurozone has a population in excess of 331 million.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney frequently warns that the United States should not become like Greece. "We need to rein in government and unleash the extraordinary vitality and creativity of the American people," Romney wrote in a December op-ed. "We must not wait to suffer a crisis like Greece's or Portugal's to right the ship of state."

But with charts like this, that formulation might already be out of date, considering the enormity of America's debt burden.


Monday 09 April 2012 at 07:15 am

White House has diverted $500M to IRS to implement healthcare law By Sam Baker - 04/09/12 05:15 AM ET Tweet

The Obama administration is quietly diverting roughly $500 million to the IRS to help implement the president’s healthcare law.

The money is only part of the IRS’s total implementation spending, and it is being provided outside the normal appropriations process. The tax agency is responsible for several key provisions of the new law, including the unpopular individual mandate.

Republican lawmakers have tried to cut off funding to implement the healthcare law, at least until after the Supreme Court decides whether to strike it down. That ruling is expected by June, and oral arguments last week indicated the justices might well overturn at least the individual mandate, if not the whole law.

“While President Obama and his Senate allies continue to spend more tax dollars implementing an unpopular and unworkable law that may very well be struck down as unconstitutional in a matter of months, I’ll continue to stand with the American people who want to repeal this law and replace it with something that will actually address the cost of healthcare,” said Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), who chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee for healthcare and is in a closely contested Senate race this year.

The Obama administration has plowed ahead despite the legal and political challenges.

It has moved aggressively to get important policies in place. And, according to a review of budget documents and figures provided by congressional staff, the administration is also burning through implementation funding provided in the healthcare law.

More from The Hill • Another Obama health law faces court challenge • Inviting Bill Clinton on campaign carries risk, reward for Obama • Juan Williams: Four cases will determine high court’s standing • RNC video previews strategy against Obama ‘hypocrisy’ • NRA, Club for Growth attack primary-threatened Sen. Lugar • The man who wants to be the Marco Rubio of Texas • DNC chairwoman says GOP ‘rooting for economic failure’

The law contains dozens of targeted appropriations to implement specific provisions. It also gave the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) a $1 billion implementation fund, to use as it sees fit. Republicans have called it a “slush fund.”

HHS plans to drain the entire fund by September — before the presidential election, and more than a year before most of the healthcare law takes effect. Roughly half of that money will ultimately go to the IRS.

HHS has transferred almost $200 million to the IRS over the past two years and plans to transfer more than $300 million this year, according to figures provided by a congressional aide.

The Government Accountability Office has said the transfers are perfectly legal and consistent with how agencies have used general implementation funds in the past. The $1 billion fund was set aside for “federal” implementation activities, the GAO said, and can therefore be used by any agency — not just HHS, where the money is housed.

Still, significant transfers to the IRS and other agencies leave less money for HHS, and the department needs to draw on the $1 billion fund for some of its biggest tasks.

The healthcare law directs HHS to set up a federal insurance exchange — a new marketplace for individuals and small businesses to buy coverage — in any state that doesn’t establish its own. But it didn’t provide any money for the federal exchange, forcing HHS to cobble together funding by using some of the $1 billion fund and steering money away from other accounts.

The transfers also allow the IRS to make the healthcare law a smaller part of its public budget figures. For example, the tax agency requested $8 million next year to implement the individual mandate, and said the money would not pay for any new employees.

An IRS spokeswoman would not say how much money has been spent so far implementing the individual mandate.

Republicans charged during the legislative debate over healthcare that the IRS would be hiring hundreds of new agents to enforce the mandate and throwing people in jail because they don’t have insurance.

However, the mandate is just one part of the IRS’s responsibilities.

The healthcare law includes a slew of new taxes and fees, some of which are already in effect. The tax agency wants to hire more than 300 new employees next year to cover those tax changes, such as the new fees on drug companies and insurance policies.

The IRS will also administer the most expensive piece of the new law — subsidies to help low-income people pay for insurance, which are structured as tax credits. The agency asked Congress to fund another 537 new employees dedicated to administering the new subsidies.

The Republican-led House last year passed an amendment, 246-182, sponsored by Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) that would have prevented the IRS from hiring new personnel or initiating any other measures to mandate that people purchase health insurance. The measure, strongly opposed by the Obama administration, was subsequently dropped from a larger bill that averted a government shutdown. Tweet View Comments


Friday 06 April 2012 at 11:47 am

NFP Big Miss: 120K, Expectations 205K, Unemployment 8.2%, "Not In Labor Force" At New All Time High

Tyler Durden's picture

March NFP big miss at just 120K. Unemployment rate declines from 8.3% to 8.2%. Futures slide, for at least a few minutes before the NEW QE TM rumor starts spreading. The household survey actually posted a decline in March from 142,065 to 142,034. Considering Birth Death added 90K to the NSA number, the actual number was almost unchanged. And as always, as we predicted when Goldman hiked its NFP forecast yesterday from 175K to 200K saying "if Goldman's recent predictive track record is any indication, tomorrow's NFP will be a disaster", Goldie once again skewers everyone. Finally, Joe LaVorgna's +250,000 forecast was just 100% off... as usual.

The unemployment rate drops to 8.2% for one simple reason: the number of people not in the labor force is back to all time highs: 87,897,000.

Birth Death:


Saturday 31 March 2012 at 8:08 pm

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Religion and American Government…How separate?

Saturday 31 March 2012 at 2:15 pm

Essay: Religion and American Government…How separate?  April 2012

Summary: As we approach Easter, I selected a thorny subject to discuss. In 1787 the Continental Congress commissioned the first penny. The motto was "Mind Your Own Business”…not very religious. In 1864, during the Civil War, the Union introduced a 2-cent coin with the motto "In God We Trust". In 1956, “In God We Trust” was mandated for all our currency. Yet, our forefathers created the First Amendment of the Constitution: the right of freedom of religion. In 2012, we are among the most religious people in the world but our government plays a small role in promoting, endorsing or funding religious institutions. Today, there is a debate about the separation of Church and State and religious/moral issues regarding abortion, in vitro fertilization, contraception, marriage between two people of the same sex, and even birth control pills. These ethical/moral subjects have become heated during the presidential election season. This essay offers some history and perspective. I realize that this will be a long, perhaps tedious read. Since the issues regarding religion and government are complex and are rarely black and white, their history and evolution are placed in a “Detailed Review” section.

The full essay is attached.


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Saturday 31 March 2012 at 12:08 am

Is Conservatism Our Default Ideology?

New research provides evidence that, when under time pressure or otherwise cognitively impaired, people are more likely to express conservative views.

 A research team led by University of Arkansas psychologist Scott Eidelman argues that conservatism — which the researchers identify as “an emphasis on personal responsibility, acceptance of hierarchy, and a preference for the status quo” — may be our default ideology. If we don’t have the time or energy to give a matter sufficient thought, we tend to accept the conservative argument.  Eidelman and his colleagues’ paper will surely  outrage manyon the left (who will resist the notion of conservatism as somehow natural) and the right (who will take offense to the idea that their ideology is linked to low brainpower.) The researchers do their best to preemptively answer such criticism.

Researchers at CalTech MedTransplant have also weighed in relative to the anomoly of disparity in cost of brainial transplants.  Michael Cohen, MD, head of the school's transplant unit, noted that the cost of brainial transplants of patient-donors of conservative ideology cost

about  60% less than those of liberal ideology, noting that the primary reason is that conservative brains have more mileage on them, i.e. they tend to be "used brains."

see rest of gallup survey below.

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Thursday 29 March 2012 at 12:38 am

Physics on the Fringe: Smoke Rings, Circlons, and Alternative Theories of Everything Read more


Wednesday 28 March 2012 at 10:04 pm

New 'life in space' hope after billions of 'habitable planets' found in Milky Way

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Eagle Cam

Monday 26 March 2012 at 10:52 am

FullScreen load (may not work for everyone, see alternate link below):

 or (load in their webpage):

These steps are not required, but may be prefered.  If the top link asks you to download a file, it means you do not have a compatible plugin installed to play the live stream.

If you'd like to try to get the top link, fullscreen, to load without the surrounding webpage, VLC with browser plugin enabled, will work.  Other plugins may or may not work also: 

Step 1:  Download VLC for your operating system: 

            VLC for Windows:

            VLC for MacOS X:

            VLC for other O/S:

Step 2:  Install VLC, making sure the browser plugin is enabled [√]

             Closing your browser before installing, is suggested. 

Step 3: Open your browser, and go to this link:

            It should now play full screen in your browser window.

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Monday 19 March 2012 at 05:23 am

How the Dukan Diet Works


Are you looking for a diet that will take off the pounds and keep them off? People in France seem to have this figured out – the French are significantly less obese than Americans. Why is that? The following article offers a possible explanation:

The answer could lie in their diet. Not the olive oil and red wine Mediterranean diet so popular on the Continent, but a striking weight-loss programme that has been taking the country by storm.

When eminent French nutritionist Dr Pierre Dukan introduced his Dukan Diet there ten years ago, the book rushed to the top of the French best-seller list and spawned an underground dieting revolution of 200 websites, forums and blogs.


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