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  • New Citizenship Questions

    Posted by Jay Manifold on November 30th, 2006 (All posts by )

    Riffing on U.S. to unveil new citizenship questions — and, just maybe, James McCormick’s phenomenal review immediately below — here’s some ideas:

    1. What portion of US GDP is taken by government, at all levels, each year?
    2. (Acceptable answer: at least 30% or $3.3 trillion.)

    3. What portion of law enforcement resources in the US is devoted to nonviolent narcotics offenders, versus violent offenders of all types?
    4. (Acceptable answer: they are approximately equal, as a percentage of arrests.)

    5. What is the proposed penalty in Federal law for scientists engaging in somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT)?
    6. (Acceptable answer: ten years in prison and a $1 million fine [Human Cloning Prohibition Act].)

    7. Sen Ted Stevens (R-AK) described the internet as “a series of …”?
    8. (Acceptable answer: anything with the word “tubes.” Extra points for speculating how long the nation can survive with technologically illiterate leadership.)

    9. How much money has been spent on welfare since the inception of the Great Society programs?
    10. (Acceptable answer: at least $18 trillion in 2006 dollars. This figure includes all transfer payments carried out at the Federal level, but none by state and local governments.)

    11. Still sure you want to go through with this?
    12. Discuss this post at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

     

    2 Responses to “New Citizenship Questions”

    1. david foster Says:

      “spent on welfare since the inception of the Great Society programs?”…does this definition include social security payments? If it does, then I would argue that the word “spent” is incorrect, given the fact that social security recipients have been making contributions. When your bank pays you back the money you have put into your savings account, the repayment is not listed as an “expense” on the bank’s financial statement, because it is a return of capital. The *interest* you get is indeed listed as an expense–but in the case of social security, the imputed interest component of the payments represents money that the Treasury had the use of for years or decades, and would otherwise have had to issue bonds to cover. Hence, the interest component should be considered a finance charge on the debt, rather than being a transfer payment.

    2. Jay Manifold Says:

      It’s a lazy definition because I didn’t feel like splitting a bunch of stuff out from the Federal spending and adding a bunch of stuff in from state and local spending. Average is $450B/yr; Social Security alone is now $550B/yr (source; 480 kB *.pdf), so the short answer is that in spite of my laziness I seem to have avoided mistakenly including it.