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Where Does the Money Go?: Your Guided Tour to the Federal Budget Crisis

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“A book that manages to be entertaining and irreverent while serving as an informative primer on a subject that is crucial to the future of all Americans.”  —New York Times   Before you vote in a national election, you should ask yourself: Where Does the Money Go? The acclaimed and essential work by Scott Biddle and Jean Johnson has been updated to reflect the recent financia “A book that manages to be entertaining and irreverent while serving as an informative primer on a subject that is crucial to the future of all Americans.”  —New York Times   Before you vote in a national election, you should ask yourself: Where Does the Money Go? The acclaimed and essential work by Scott Biddle and Jean Johnson has been updated to reflect the recent financial crisis and the sweeping legislation passed by the Obama administration in its first years. Nonpartisan and well-balanced, Where Does the Money Go? is a candid, eye-opening, and delightfully irreverent guide to the ongoing federal budget crisis that breaks-down into plain English exactly what the Fat Cats in Washington, D.C. are arguing about.


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“A book that manages to be entertaining and irreverent while serving as an informative primer on a subject that is crucial to the future of all Americans.”  —New York Times   Before you vote in a national election, you should ask yourself: Where Does the Money Go? The acclaimed and essential work by Scott Biddle and Jean Johnson has been updated to reflect the recent financia “A book that manages to be entertaining and irreverent while serving as an informative primer on a subject that is crucial to the future of all Americans.”  —New York Times   Before you vote in a national election, you should ask yourself: Where Does the Money Go? The acclaimed and essential work by Scott Biddle and Jean Johnson has been updated to reflect the recent financial crisis and the sweeping legislation passed by the Obama administration in its first years. Nonpartisan and well-balanced, Where Does the Money Go? is a candid, eye-opening, and delightfully irreverent guide to the ongoing federal budget crisis that breaks-down into plain English exactly what the Fat Cats in Washington, D.C. are arguing about.

30 review for Where Does the Money Go?: Your Guided Tour to the Federal Budget Crisis

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chrissa

    This was an interesting (and frightening) basic introduction to the federal budget as a topic of debate. Finance is not my area of expertise and I hadn't realized to what extended we are overextended as a country nor did I have a general understanding of how money moved through the government. The authors provide actually numbers and percentages, so that it is easy to see how big each segment of government expenditure is. There are several simple charts to emphasize the main points and plenty of This was an interesting (and frightening) basic introduction to the federal budget as a topic of debate. Finance is not my area of expertise and I hadn't realized to what extended we are overextended as a country nor did I have a general understanding of how money moved through the government. The authors provide actually numbers and percentages, so that it is easy to see how big each segment of government expenditure is. There are several simple charts to emphasize the main points and plenty of humor throughout. Abstractions and complex programs are conveyed simply. Data is footnoted and most numbers seem to come from primary sources (the Congressional Budget Office, etc.). I don't feel better having read this book, particularly since the authors keep waving the flag of budgetary catastrophe in one had the flag of reasoned partisan compromise on difficult and debatable solutions in the other. The clearest message I took from this is that social security, Medicaid, and debt service will consume every tax dollar taken in within the next 30 years (or sooner) if action isn't taken now and that we as a society not only don't have a plan, we are actively avoiding looking for one. This may be because reasonable people may seriously disagree on possible solutions, which is beyond the scope of this book. The appendix (and the text itself) provides several areas on the web to check out the information or to research the topics further. Both conversative and liberal sources are sited and the authors don't seem impartial (I'll admit, I'm not enough of a partisan to recognize all instances of bias, so you'll have to judge the last for yourself). I found this book to be a good, basic introduction to the topic.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Glenn

    This book explains in very simple terms what is causing our huge budget problems. Sometimes a bit repetitive. Also, although he claims to not choose sides with either political party, I find his criticism of failed Democratic policies to be harsher than that of failed Republican policies - still though, both parties' blunders are shown. In all though, a very clear reasoning is given, as well as what others have postulated as possible solutions. This book explains in very simple terms what is causing our huge budget problems. Sometimes a bit repetitive. Also, although he claims to not choose sides with either political party, I find his criticism of failed Democratic policies to be harsher than that of failed Republican policies - still though, both parties' blunders are shown. In all though, a very clear reasoning is given, as well as what others have postulated as possible solutions.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    This is a scarily frank book which was written in 2008, but the point of the book (still) is the danger is looming unless we do something about our irreparable budget crisis. Bittle and Johnson take the reader on a broken-down but informative tour as to how the United States money system works. It takes us through what taxes/revenue comes in, and what it is spent on; they also take us through the national debt. That is very scary, as what is telling IS our economy is being kept alive on what this This is a scarily frank book which was written in 2008, but the point of the book (still) is the danger is looming unless we do something about our irreparable budget crisis. Bittle and Johnson take the reader on a broken-down but informative tour as to how the United States money system works. It takes us through what taxes/revenue comes in, and what it is spent on; they also take us through the national debt. That is very scary, as what is telling IS our economy is being kept alive on what this country borrows. Finally, Bittle and Johnson alert us to the looming (and overgrown cherry on the cake), which IS the projected and by now (2019) actual expenses of Sccial Security and Medicaire. Consequently, were are at the thresh hold where both programs are paying out more than they are taking in to pay for them. Okay. the authors nor I contend that neither program be scrapped and people be thrown into poverty, or more crucially, be betrayed in being able to benefit from these programs, because people DID pay into them! Nevertheless, the other side of the story and a crucial point of this book is to inform and warn the reader as to how the United States money system actually works so we (the people) can demand and enforce accountability for our fiscal situation. Part of why the problem is not addressed is because we and our representatives don’t treat it as a looming problem that has to be dealt with! It’s ‘far better’ to go on with business as usual … until the problem explodes, i.e., foreign governments, don’t lend to the United States anymore; the United States economy collapses, or foreign governments decide that the United States is no longer a safe place to invest their money or Social Security and/or Medicaire costs grow too fast that the economy goes bust, and cannot actually pay out the benefits that it has promised. Ignoring the looming problem be it from our representatives or us, the people, is not an option! Bittle and Johnson also provide the standard platforms from both sides of the political aisle on how to ‘fix’ the problem. However, each side’s solution only goes but so far. Moreover, each side’s solutions are not so cut and dry, i.e., it does hurt people, but they also can provide room for waste and/or inefficiency. Finally, even if a(ny) solution is executed, it won’t address nor resolve our looming national debt, nor the looming Social Security and Medicaire debt. The biggest observable problem that screams here is Medicaire costs. Bittle and Johnson rightfully weigh out the benefits of new technology and new means for people to live longer and have a good/better quality of life. However, these things still cost. So a balance needs to be struck between paying and therefore, enjoying these benefits without being ripped off in the process. The passage about the Veterans Administration’s being able to obtain saline solution for $1.02 / liter over Medicaire paying $8.68/ per liter is insane! That is the crux of why costs are so (too, and unnecessarily) high! The book is also highly informative insofar as providing reference materials so the reader can not only read the information for oneself –yes, it’s time to do one’s own research and therefore, become more informed and empowered as to what the problem really is – but to also become involved. Therefore, it is also time for people to demand more from their representatives, but to also do something toward addressing and hopefully, resolving the looming federal budget crisis. We have tom re-think and re-consider what we want with the feasibility to pay for it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Wan Siti

    issue lama . boleh amek idea. cari buku lebih baru untuk isu pitih

  5. 5 out of 5

    Gilberto Gonzalez

    The book was mostly fairly simple to follow. The comparisons between Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were very interesting - shows how they are very similar. I enjoyed the chapter that allows the reader to take a stab at balancing the budget. For me that was interesting to look at, but I think most people wouldn't try or even look at the existing allocations. I also liked the list of resources at the end of the book. They will definitely provide use to me. But I didn't give it five sta The book was mostly fairly simple to follow. The comparisons between Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were very interesting - shows how they are very similar. I enjoyed the chapter that allows the reader to take a stab at balancing the budget. For me that was interesting to look at, but I think most people wouldn't try or even look at the existing allocations. I also liked the list of resources at the end of the book. They will definitely provide use to me. But I didn't give it five stars for a reason. There are two. First, I noted the book was mostly fairly simple to follow. At times I found myself having to review some of the material because I just didn't really understand it. I know the budget can be difficult, but I would have liked some more down-to-earth explanations of the complex areas. Second, the theme was focused on a combination of tax increases and budget cuts. What I would have appreciated was a brainstorm of other possibilities to deal with the federal budget. Still this is a very good book and worth a read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    I really enjoyed this book, particularly as I was reading it just prior to the election. The authors present the federal budget and associated causes, issues, etc. in a nonpartisan fashion. Regardless of your current knowledge of the subject, I'd recommend this to anyone. I knew relatively little about it other than people are always talking about how "we" won't get social security when we're old even though we're paying into the program now. Among many other topics (Medicare, defense, interest I really enjoyed this book, particularly as I was reading it just prior to the election. The authors present the federal budget and associated causes, issues, etc. in a nonpartisan fashion. Regardless of your current knowledge of the subject, I'd recommend this to anyone. I knew relatively little about it other than people are always talking about how "we" won't get social security when we're old even though we're paying into the program now. Among many other topics (Medicare, defense, interest on the debt), the book fully addresses this issue, explaining how it happened and what options we have to fix it. It affected how I voted in the election, and I really hope that the new administration will do something about the huge debt (and yearly deficit) that the US has. Quite honestly, there's no other way than to raise taxes and/or cut programs. We'll see how that goes since there are an awful lot of new programs potentially promised to the public...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nell

    Actually I am reading the earlier (2008) edition. A readable explanation of the U.S.'s fiscal woes, how we got to this point, and what it's going to take to fix the situation. Along the lines of a Dummies book, but not as jumpy. The authors take pains to present the facts and to describe positions on both sides. Every voter needs to educate themselves about this critical issue and let their representatives know how they feel about it. Finished. Giving it five stars for importance and I urge ever Actually I am reading the earlier (2008) edition. A readable explanation of the U.S.'s fiscal woes, how we got to this point, and what it's going to take to fix the situation. Along the lines of a Dummies book, but not as jumpy. The authors take pains to present the facts and to describe positions on both sides. Every voter needs to educate themselves about this critical issue and let their representatives know how they feel about it. Finished. Giving it five stars for importance and I urge everyone to read it. Gives sources for further information for those inclined to learn more.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mike Angelillo

    Who knew that the 9 trillion dollar federal debt could make such light reading? Lots of graphs, footnotes and one-off stories make the material of this book easier and faster to read than some. It may lack a bit of depth (compared to Pete Peters or someone of his ilk) but makes up for it in reach and readability. Plus, in one of the last chapters you get to make your own federal budget/tax plan and solve the deficit. I figured it out in like ten minutes! How do you like dem' apples Greenspan! Who knew that the 9 trillion dollar federal debt could make such light reading? Lots of graphs, footnotes and one-off stories make the material of this book easier and faster to read than some. It may lack a bit of depth (compared to Pete Peters or someone of his ilk) but makes up for it in reach and readability. Plus, in one of the last chapters you get to make your own federal budget/tax plan and solve the deficit. I figured it out in like ten minutes! How do you like dem' apples Greenspan!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

    This book was released three to six months before anyone uttered the phrase "global financial crisis" regarding the current (end of 2008) situation. It made no predictions, but it sure seems timely now. Anyone of my generation who thinks entitlements like medicare and social security have any chance of surviving until such point in time as we'll be eligible for them should read this before our nation goes even further into debt. This book was released three to six months before anyone uttered the phrase "global financial crisis" regarding the current (end of 2008) situation. It made no predictions, but it sure seems timely now. Anyone of my generation who thinks entitlements like medicare and social security have any chance of surviving until such point in time as we'll be eligible for them should read this before our nation goes even further into debt.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brenton

    A wonderful primer on an issue that is going to be with us for a long time, this book is quite a delight and is written from a non-partisan perspective (it is partisan towards reducing the debt long term, but that in and of itself is not partisan). If you have any interest in current events at all this book comes highly recommended, I think it's appeal extends well beyond the wonks of the world who get paid to think about these things. A wonderful primer on an issue that is going to be with us for a long time, this book is quite a delight and is written from a non-partisan perspective (it is partisan towards reducing the debt long term, but that in and of itself is not partisan). If you have any interest in current events at all this book comes highly recommended, I think it's appeal extends well beyond the wonks of the world who get paid to think about these things.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jennie

    If you have ever wondered, "Where does the money go?", then this book is for you. Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson have made a real contribution to our collective understanding of the federal budget crisis. Their non-partisan account provides a much needed corrective to the heightened discourse and finger pointing that obfuscates the real danger lurking in our growing national debt. I would put this book onto the list of recommended reading for every American. If you have ever wondered, "Where does the money go?", then this book is for you. Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson have made a real contribution to our collective understanding of the federal budget crisis. Their non-partisan account provides a much needed corrective to the heightened discourse and finger pointing that obfuscates the real danger lurking in our growing national debt. I would put this book onto the list of recommended reading for every American.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Absolutely terrifying, the magnitude of the problem. This is meteor-headed-for-Washington-tomorrow, run screaming in the streets big and we are doing nothing. I did a budget exercise in here and I slashed and burned: redesigned the military and foreign policy, overhauled social services and cut everything at least a little. I raised taxes. I didn't come within a mile of balancing the budget. I was astounded. I believe I will start building my bunker now, for the inevitable economic crash. Absolutely terrifying, the magnitude of the problem. This is meteor-headed-for-Washington-tomorrow, run screaming in the streets big and we are doing nothing. I did a budget exercise in here and I slashed and burned: redesigned the military and foreign policy, overhauled social services and cut everything at least a little. I raised taxes. I didn't come within a mile of balancing the budget. I was astounded. I believe I will start building my bunker now, for the inevitable economic crash.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jenifer

    I read the 2011 version, which is updated and includes the ACA and increased national debt. Though not all solutions are included to decrease the national debt this is a very valuable book to anyone interested in understanding the financial crisis in Washington. It is an easy read and is even humorous at times. I would recommend it to anyone.

  14. 4 out of 5

    leigh

    Interested in why our country is trillions of dollars in debt? (That's over $10,000,000,000,000.00) This will help you get your answers. I'm not totally sold on the suggestions for reducing the debt (why the hell CAN'T we stop spending so much money on war? why not talk more frankly about government waste and cronyism), but still learned a lot from this book. Interested in why our country is trillions of dollars in debt? (That's over $10,000,000,000,000.00) This will help you get your answers. I'm not totally sold on the suggestions for reducing the debt (why the hell CAN'T we stop spending so much money on war? why not talk more frankly about government waste and cronyism), but still learned a lot from this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Excellent introduction to the budget. Unfortunately, things change so quickly that this book was probably out of date quickly after it was released, but the concepts and overall themes of the book are spot on.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elena

    Great nonpartisan book that gives a great overview of the U.S. budget crisis and what it means for those of us who will be retiring after the Boomer Generation. We definitely have some hard choices ahead of us.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeannie

    This book is an excellant non-partisan explanation of the budget crisis. Although it was written before the 2008 election and refers to policy at that time, it is still relevant for today. Perfect primer for understanding the financial issues the US is facing today.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    An simple and amusing description of what is going on with the national debt. I read the 2006 version. I am tempted to read the 2011 version to see what they say about all the changes that have taken place in that time and their reaction to 2008.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tarik

    An excellent high level and simple explanation of the impending budget crisis and where the current gov't money goes. Everyone should at least read this to understand how the gov't spends their tax dollars. An excellent high level and simple explanation of the impending budget crisis and where the current gov't money goes. Everyone should at least read this to understand how the gov't spends their tax dollars.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    well-written, informative (to a novice); a law should be passed requiring all registered voters to read this book

  21. 5 out of 5

    P

    good book to have read. A little glib, maybe could have used an editor or proofreader, but still ok

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jennelle

    Very interesting look at the fiscal crisis. Examines potential solutions and explains why the sound-bite answers just won't cut it. Very interesting look at the fiscal crisis. Examines potential solutions and explains why the sound-bite answers just won't cut it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    A bit repetitive, but a good read. If you pay attention to real news (as opposed to political pundit news) you probably know a lot what’s in here. I recommend borrowing it instead of buying it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    A very simple explanation of our federal budget crisis.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    I recommend this to everyone - it's a frightening wake-up call, but it doesn't make the problem seem hopeless (as long as we act NOW). I recommend this to everyone - it's a frightening wake-up call, but it doesn't make the problem seem hopeless (as long as we act NOW).

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jeannie-marie

    funny, and lament explaination of problems and solutions. Excellent resouce provider.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kai Palchikoff

    Collins

  28. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    A must read. At times a bit repetitive (they really break things down to make them easy to understand.) But it is a very helpful guide and helps identify what the real issues are.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pmurph07

    I learned a lot from reading this book. I definitely recommend it

  30. 4 out of 5

    T Worwood

    Prophetic. Still relevant. Easy to read and with a clear message.

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