Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream has been known for both delicious treats (Cherry Garcia….mmmmm) as well political activism. They have a fun application on their site which allows you to slice up the budget as YOU see fit. What are your priorities?

Whats even more fun (well, kinda) is that you get to compare your ideal budget with the real federal budget in all its *cough* glory. My results are below (not to say this is exactly what I would end up with but…….)

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  1. #1 jvarisco
    March 24, 2007

    Only discretionary spending? Not so fair for the defense budget when it’s not next to social security and other massive non-discretionary programs…

    You may also want to keep in mind that a significant portion of the defense budget actually goes to science, much of which will later have civilian applications. Not that I oppose giving NASA more money – we go to the moon ages ago and we haven’t been anywhere else or even built a base? Sad.

  2. #2 Charlie (Colorado)
    March 24, 2007

    *Discretionary* spending. Aha. I was going to ask about the basis for the chart.

    So this is basically spin — it’d be a lot more fair to make this a comparison *including* the two-thirds of the budget they’re not mentioning.

  3. #3 drcharles
    March 24, 2007

    wow. that is frightening.
    national defense or offense?
    i know that was trite, but really.
    i jacked up the environment and healthcare.

  4. #4 Alon Levy
    March 24, 2007

    The health part isn’t health care, but public health spending. Federal health care spending goes to Medicare and Medicaid, which are not part of the discretionary budget.

    Defense includes some defense-related research, but not much; total R&D spending in the US is 2.6% of GDP, compared with a global average of 2.5%. Where military spending does tend to go to R&D is Israel, which has the highest R&D spending in the world as a percentage of GDP. On the other hand, number two spender, Sweden, has a level of military spending about the same as this of Shelley’s budget once one includes non-discretionary spending.

  5. #5 chuko
    March 25, 2007

    Wait a second…

    They say that the chart is discretionary spending. It’s kind of obvious the chart doesn’t include social security or medicare. That’s not spin.

    They didn’t try to do a comparison of US military spending to other countries, but the fact is that we spend far more cash than anyone else in the world, no matter how you cut it. Here’s an admittedly biased, but also well-sourced, report:

    I also totally support doing something real with the space program – after all, it’s important not only the spend the right amounts but also to get something for what you’re spending. A real Mars program would be just the thing.

    I also liked that you jacked up the transportation budget – what do you think, more trains, more public transportation within the cities?

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