Memes of Misinformation: Federal Spending
Unraveling the controversial, socio-economic and political issues behind those annoying social media memes
"In 'Memes of Misinformation' Julio Castañeda strives for that rapidly diminishing real estate on the collective mind map of America: the middle ground. The reader gets a sense that he is presenting not so much a set of facts as a methodology for developing independent thought; for formulating views based on one's own research.
His love/hate protagonists, Tanner and Skye, are not fools, but they have been sucked into that emotional vortex where winning an argument using a clever meme matters more than fact checking and unbiased investigation. Here is where Castañeda's engineering background and his calm, well-reasoned approach to discerning fact from distorted wishful thinking comes into play.
One layer below the thoughtful analysis of topics as disparate as "The Fed, Gold, and the Debt Ceiling" and gun control in Australia, there is an implied message:
America, in all of its diversity, represents not a single truth, but a collection of truths that vary as broadly as the vastly colourful patchwork of its citizenry. The truth of gun control for an East Coast city dweller may be vastly different than the truth held by a rural Idaho resident. The nature of what defines "entitlement" varies between an unemployed Ohio steel worker and a San Francisco-based M&A specialist.
What never varies, however, are the facts. Facts fed through the filters of our emotional human nature form our beliefs, and our personal truths, but we all need to start with the same facts, regardless of our personal bias.
Castañeda's first in what I truly hope will be a series of writings is a solid step in the direction truth based in fact. A common ground where we can all meet to debate respectfully, and work together to form an unbiased view of the world that will serve us all in our various pursuit of our own truth."
Managing Director, Head of Futures & Options Asia Pacific, Nomura
"'Memes of Misinformation' is an easy read and will appeal to a broad audience. It has the perfect blend of statistical facts and conversational explanations. The author stays politically neutral and debunks many preconceived notions about Presidents that have either been blamed for a crisis that was not their own doing, such as GWB and the 2008 recession, or to the idea that democrats are solely responsible for the US debt problem. Finally, he lays out a plan, which seems obvious after reading, to deal with the exploding debt problem, i.e., “quit taking money from other government agencies, especially Social Security”. I look forward to Castañeda’s next book in this series showing the bias relationships that exist between the media and each political party."
College of Charleston
In this first installment of the Misinformation series, the author tackles complex socio-economic and political topics related to the economy of the United States, such as the federal budget, wasteful spending, the national debt, unemployment and social security. By breaking down each subject into layman’s terms, the author clearly and concisely presents, in an unbiased manner, the facts behind the fake news, half-truths and general misinformation from the annoying headlines and memes cluttering social media on these volatile subjects.
List of abbreviations
List of figures
Chapter 1 National Debt
Debt vs. deficit
Chapter 2 Progression of the debt
Surpluses & deficits
Chapter 3 Sources of revenue
Effective tax rates
Revenue changes over time
Chapter 4 Federal spending
Types of spending
Spending changes over time
Chapter 5 Who owns the debt?
Chapter 6 Gross Domestic Product & debt
Chapter 7 Origin of the welfare entitlement society
Success or failure?
Chapter 8 The Fed, gold & the debt ceiling
The Federal Reserve Bank
The Gold Standard
Bretton Woods and Triffin, oh my!
The Debt Ceiling
Chapter 9 Debt interest & impending doom
A brief history of Fed time
The cost of borrowing
Chapter 10 Analysis by President & Party
Budgets & spending
Category analysis by President
Category analysis by Party
Chapter 11 Loose ends
Chapter 12 Final words
The fiscal endgame
Tanner and Skye
Julio C Castañeda Jr emigrated from Cuba to the US in 1974, grew up in South Florida and currently resides in California with his wife and youngest son. He graduated from Georgia Tech with a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering and had worked for Motorola, Google and Snap Inc. for more than 25 years in product development, R&D, and manufacturing. Over the course of his career, Julio has earned a Master Six Sigma Black Belt, been granted 48 US patents and authored numerous technical reports on a broad range of engineering topics. An avid sports fan and fascinated by the statistical aspect of sports, he has published two books in a series titled “Football Morsels” redefining quarterback and team statistics. In this book, the first installment of the “Misinformation” series, Julio uses his statistical approach and data based conclusions to provide a balanced and unbiased presentation of key socio-economic and political issues.