Why are U.S. Taxpayers Supporting Numerous Duplications of Effort in the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)?

Guest Post by Bob Tisdale

There are numerous duplications of effort in the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP): from multiple U.S.-funded climate-modeling groups, to multiple producers of the same climate-related data. Why are taxpayers supporting all of those duplications of effort?


According to the 2014 Climate Change Expenditures Report from The White House, costs to U.S. taxpayers of the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) run about $2.5 billion annually.

CLIMATE MODELS – Duplication of Effort Example 1

Climate models are the basis for long-term prognostications of the impacts of human-induced global warming and climate change. Unknown to most climate laypersons, climate models are not simulating Earth’s climate as it existed in the past, as it exists now, or as it might exist in the future.  This reality came to light back in 2007 with the blog post Predictions of climate written for Nature.com by Dr. Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Now consider that Dr. Trenberth is not a skeptic of human-induced global warming. He was a lead author of the IPCC’s 3rd and 4th Assessment Reports.  In that Nature.com article, Dr. Trenberth wrote (my boldface and underline):

None of the models used by IPCC are initialized to the observed state and none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate. In particular, the state of the oceans, sea ice, and soil moisture has no relationship to the observed state at any recent time in any of the IPCC models. There is neither an El Niño sequence nor any Pacific Decadal Oscillation that replicates the recent past; yet these are critical modes of variability that affect Pacific rim countries and beyond. The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, that may depend on the thermohaline circulation and thus ocean currents in the Atlantic, is not set up to match today’s state, but it is a critical component of the Atlantic hurricanes and it undoubtedly affects forecasts for the next decade from Brazil to Europe. Moreover, the starting climate state in several of the models may depart significantly from the real climate owing to model errors. I postulate that regional climate change is impossible to deal with properly unless the models are initialized.

The outputs of the recent generation of models are stored in an archive called the Coupled Model Intercomparison Phase 5 (CMIP5).  The CMIP5-archived model outputs were used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for their 5th Assessment Report (AR5) in 2013.  Referring to the CMIP5 webpage here, of the 25 modeling centers/institutions around the world, 5 are located in the United States.  They include:

  • Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies at George Mason University and NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction (1 model)
  • NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (4 models)
  • NASA Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (1 model)
  • NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (6 models)
  • National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, National Center for Atmospheric Research (5 models)

Note:  There is another U.S. modeling center listed on that CMIP5 webpage: National Center for Atmospheric Research (1 model). It is my understanding that the CCSM4 model from NCAR is no longer being updated.  NCAR is now relying on a model they share with the NSF and DOE.   [End note.]

U.S. taxpayers are paying for 17 climate models from 5 climate-modeling groups—and the resulting model-based studies—even though those climate models are simulating fantasy climates, not climate as it exists on this planet.   Keep in mind there are more than a dozen other modeling groups around the globe and many models share computer code, which means they are not independent of one another.  Why do U.S. taxpayers pay for 17 models of fantasy climate?


For this discussion, we’ll define climate model-based studies as scientific research of Earth’s climate and the long-term impacts of manmade greenhouse gases on climate, on flora and fauna and on human health and wellbeing that are based solely on the outputs of climate models.

Those studies can rely on the outputs of selected (cherry-picked) models that meet the researchers’ needs. Others studies can rely on the outputs of the full ensemble of models stored in a CMIP archive.  For yet even other studies, the models are specially programmed for a specific variable, output and result.

We discussed above that climate models are not simulating climate as it exists on Earth. Yet each year U.S. taxpayers pay for hundreds of research studies of fictional model-based climate.

Climate model-based studies are conjectural at best, misleading at other times. Why do we keep pumping U.S. taxpayer dollars into science fiction?


Both NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) and NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) manufacture global surface temperature anomaly products. (GISS data here and NCEI data here.) Both use the much-adjusted data from NOAA/NCEI: GHCN.v3 near-land surface temperature data and ERSST.v4 sea surface temperature data, the latter of which is NOAA’s “pause-buster” data (see the posts here and here for discussions of the curiosities in the NOAA’s ERSST.v4 sea surface temperature dataset). GISS also includes the Antarctic surface temperature data from The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) to better capture the surface temperatures of that ice-covered continent, which represents less than 3% of the surface area of the globe.

Figure 1 compares the annual global land+ocean surface temperature anomalies for the full terms of data from both suppliers, along with their difference and their linear trends. You’ll note that I’ve used the full terms of the data (1880 to 2015) as the reference period for anomalies.  That was done so that the base years didn’t skew the curve of the difference.

Figure 1

Figure 1

Based on their linear trends, their global warming rates are basically the same at approximately +0.07 deg C/decade. The minor differences in annual wiggles result from:

  • the additional Antarctic data used by GISS,
  • the additional adjustments made by GISS to the NOAA land surface temperature data,
  • the different methods used to infill portions of the continental land masses without temperature data and
  • how the suppliers handle the surface temperatures above sea ice in the polar oceans.

Even so, there are only minor differences in the annual wiggles. The correlation between the two datasets is almost perfect at 0.996.

The UK Met Office (webpage here), the Japan Meteorological Agency (webpage here), the privately funded Berkeley Earth (webpage here), and a privately funded, modified version of the UKMO HADCRUT4 data from the University of York (webpage here) also produce global surface temperature products so there are numerous other sources of similar information for research and verification purposes.

Why do U.S. taxpayers pay for two global surface temperature products that furnish the same information and are based on the same source data from NOAA?

NOTE:  The U.S. also produces two satellite-derived atmospheric temperature datasets, one from Remote Sensing Systems and the other from the University of Alabama at Huntsville.   No other countries produce similar datasets so there are no additional sources of the same information.  Therefore, they are both required for research and verification purposes.

CLIMATE DATA – Satellite- and Rain Gauge-Based Global Precipitation – Duplication of Effort Example 3

NASA and NOAA produce three global precipitation datasets based on rain gauges and satellite observations. Those datasets are available in easy-to-use form at the KNMI Climate Explorer.  They include:

  • CAMS-OPI – NOAA’s Climate Anomaly Monitoring System (“CAMS”) and OLR Precipitation Index(“OPI”) – Starts in 1983 at KNMI Climate Explorer,
  • CMAP – NOAA’s CPC Merged Analysis of Precipitation, and
  • GPCP v2.2 – NASA’s Global Precipitation Climatology Project Version 2.2 (also supported by other groups around the globe) – Ends February 2015 at KNMI Climate Explorer.

Figure 2 compares the annual global precipitation values from those three datasets for the period of 1983 to 2014. The data are presented in absolute form, not anomalies.

Figure 2

Figure 2

Unlike global surface temperature datasets, there is little agreement among the global precipitation datasets.  They all show declining global precipitation over the satellite era, but the rates at which they decline are noticeably different.   Annual variations show few agreements. That is, the three datasets correlate very poorly.  Keep that in mind the next time you hear of a consensus on climate change.

Do U.S. taxpayers need to support 3 global precipitation datasets, especially when they show the climate science community has a very limited understanding of how precipitation varies around the globe?

OTHER CLIMATE DATA – Duplication of Effort Example 4

There are numerous other duplications of effort.  Sea ice for example. Sea ice data are produced in the U.S. by:

The sea ice products can vary between research centers: some produce sea ice extent data, others produce sea ice area data, while others produce sea ice volume data. But there are numerous duplications of effort.  Do taxpayers really need to pay for 5 research centers, all studying polar sea ice?


Pick a climate-related variable.  There are numerous datasets of that metric.  And when data from direct measurements do not exist, there are multiple modeling groups attempting to simulate it with special models called reanalyses.

Are they all necessary?


For further insights into how poorly climate models simulate Earth’s climate, see the series of posts titled Climate Models are NOT Simulating Earth’s Climate.  There are numerous other discussions about climate model flaws in my free ebook On Global Warming and the Illusion of Control – Part 1 (700+page, 25MB .pdf).

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March 29, 2016 4:50 am

..One of your best Bob, Tanx !! ( even with all the EXTRA related posts taking up half the page !! ) LOL

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
March 29, 2016 5:48 am

It is important to call attention to USGCRP’s declared intention under its 2012-2021 plan to advance Science by integrating “natural and human components.” http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-reality-is-ignored-or-disregarded-when-do-we-become-a-state-against-its-people/ This is code for using education and the behavioral sciences to create useful ‘guiding fictions’ that support planning and social engineering by public policy.
It fits also with what the National Science Foundation and the NIH are pushing in an initiative called the BRAIN Institute. The purpose of the models is not to reflect reality. the purpose of the models is to create and guide beliefs that enable politicians to insist that reality be altered by political edict. Precisely what we are seeing the UN, IPCC, and the US embark on.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
March 29, 2016 6:48 am

..Must be because your posts are so popular Bob !!

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
March 29, 2016 7:22 am

Neuropsychological engineering for a collectivist political purpose.
H/t Robin.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  marcus
March 29, 2016 8:00 am

Seems Word Press is harder to understand than climate!
We need Proxmire’s Golden Fleece Award.
Thanks Bob.

Reply to  marcus
March 30, 2016 4:14 am
March 29, 2016 5:23 am

Why? Because a “gravy train” has many cars.
“Hop aboard, fellow travelers; let’s take this ride ’till the end.”

Reply to  RockyRoad
March 29, 2016 12:34 pm

Your right Rocky, it’s stirring the grant train money puddle = lots of too stupid taxpayers money to go around!

Reply to  RockyRoad
April 1, 2016 12:43 am

If we had only one source for each, we might make the mistake of thinking it credible.

March 29, 2016 5:26 am

I’m reminded of how Congress dealt with the 1970s toxic waste crisis (Love Canal, etc.). Congress ordered the EPA to generate a list of at least 400 “national priority” sites with a minimum of one per state to be listed amongst the “top 100” cleanup targets. In other words, Congress sees every crisis as an opportunity to send federal dollars to local projects, regardless of relative merit. Thus shall it ever be.

Richard M
March 29, 2016 5:41 am

I’m sure it’s even worse than Bob demonstrated. For example, we have the STAR satellite data from NOAA and MASIE sea ice data from NSIDC (which likely takes added funding).

March 29, 2016 5:49 am

Simple answer to the post question: Because every rent-seeking agency wants to get their feed at the public-money trough.
They’re entitled to it, ya know?

Joe Crawford
Reply to  beng135
March 29, 2016 8:02 am

…and every rent-seeking university in the US wants the same. I doubt you can find one that doesn’t have its snout in that trough.

March 29, 2016 5:52 am

because tax payers do wtf they are told to do
then they whine about it

March 29, 2016 6:02 am

“even though those climate models are simulating fantasy climates, not climate as it exists on this planet”
That’s not what Trenberth said. He said
“none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate.”
State is the key word. Climate state varies as with weather, and weather is what he is talking about, on timescales up to ENSO or PDO (his examples). This is a familiar issue with fluid dynamics. A flow over a wing, say, is unsteady, with turbulence at various scales. But no-one measures the initial state of the flow, or even the time-varying behaviour of oncoming eddies. It’s all averaged. And you get averaged results – as in mean lift or drag. That’s what designers work with, whether in lab or CFD. A transient CFD computation will show all sorts of “fantasy” eddies etc. They are there in the wind tunnel too. You have to have them – they are part of the physics, and affect momentum transport etc. But you derive quantities that are independent of them, after averaging. And those are then applicable to a real wing.
Climate is the analogue of mean lift, drag etc. Averaging is the key. And Trenberth is emphasising that on a regional scale, there is less averaging, and so the results are less reliable for a given time.
Trenberth’s article was timely – starting with Meehl and others about 2008, there has indeed been a Decadal Prediction Project, which does try to initialise the state. As the linked article emphasises, it is a work in progress. But it does seek to solve Trenberth’s issue of regional reliability as well.
As to duplication, there has always been lots of that in science. It’s how we keep on track.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 29, 2016 7:09 am

..LOL, clutching at straws as you drown in your own idiocy !

Reply to  marcus
March 29, 2016 1:29 pm

Seriously, good luck as a high school freshman, next year.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
March 29, 2016 8:17 am

…Nick and reality live in two different worlds it seems…

Janice Moore
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 29, 2016 8:23 am

Here’s another Trenberth testimonial for you (from commenter “Dom”):
“This one is huge. Compare what Trenberth says here : http://fortcollinsteaparty.com/index.php/2009/10/10/dr-william-gray-and-dr-kevin-trenberth-debate-global-warming/
while exactly at the same moment he was writing:
From: Kevin Trenberth
To: Michael Mann
Subject: Re: BBC U-turn on climate
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 08:57:37 -0600
Cc: Stephen H Schneider , Myles Allen , peter stott , “Philip D. Jones” , Benjamin Santer , Tom Wigley , Thomas R Karl , Gavin Schmidt , James Hansen , Michael Oppenheimer

Hi all
Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming?
We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. We had 4 inches of snow. … ***
The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment
and it is a travesty
that we can’t. …”

(Source: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/19/breaking-news-story-hadley-cru-has-apparently-been-hacked-hundreds-of-files-released/#comment-227456 — Emphases mine.)

“Where the heck is global warming?”

More fine, super-well-informed, reporting, Bob!
And the answer is: NO. Duplication of effort is a waste of the taxpayers’ money. That Walt the P.’s (below) basic premise is correct, that multiple analyses of the same data are a good thing, does NOT = government should fund such analyses.

Boulder Skeptic
Reply to  Janice Moore
March 29, 2016 9:08 pm

I was in Boulder at the time (12 Oct 2009) and remember the kerfuffle around that time well (great back and forth in the area papers). This was about the time I started paying attention and figuring out that I was being lied to about CAGW.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 31, 2016 4:45 am

This is a familiar issue with fluid dynamics. A flow over a wing, say, is unsteady, with turbulence at various scales. But no-one measures the initial state of the flow, or even the time-varying behaviour of oncoming eddies. It’s all averaged. And you get averaged results .
That’s far beyond the ability of that clim mods.
With an aircraft you have the real representation in 3d to the millimeter. And you have the specificatons of all materials used. So you can simulate the reaction of say a wing to every wind shear.
only in dreams will those climate models ever reach those capacaty.
A yes, brute force – superComputers.
not in all our line time.

Walt The Physicist
March 29, 2016 6:10 am

There’s nothing wrong with duplicating research when it is done by the competent people who are capable of productive discourse and who are interested in obtaining results rather than their little careers and tenured incomes. In this case duplication creates healthy competition. However, current state of science is such that it became feeding grounds for incompetent and politically savvy individuals. Besides climate modeling, it includes practically all physics research and, by induction, I would assume that, the rest of the sciences are in the same state.

Ian W
Reply to  Walt The Physicist
March 29, 2016 8:10 am

It is not competition, it is validation and repeatability. There should be a follow up exercise identifying why X got one result and Z got another, with the hope of both sides learning something and coming to agreement on how to produce a better model. The aim surely is to produce one that does correctly forecast what the climate will do. This is the claim made by the funding politicians after all. If they do not work together to find out why there is a difference and publish the results then the only assumption is that continued funding will result in a plethora of useless unvalidated models – which is precisely what we are seeing.

Bruce Cobb
March 29, 2016 6:25 am

We like throwing money away, that’s why. It’s our money, and besides, we’re rich, doncha know.

March 29, 2016 6:37 am

We need multiple troughs for so many pigs.

Steve Fraser
March 29, 2016 6:45 am

To the Trenberth quote, it occurs to me that the only model to remotely approximate temps is the one run in Russia. It sure would be interesting if the initial state of that was published.
I get no sense from the way these organizations behave that there is any penalty for being consistently wrong, or any incentive to get it right.

March 29, 2016 6:48 am

And don’t forgot the USCRN Network of climate stations. https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/crn/map.html

David S
March 29, 2016 6:58 am

“Why are U.S. Taxpayers Supporting Numerous Duplications of Effort in the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)?”
Simple. Because our government is run by incompetent crooks who will spend every penny they get and then borrow another half trillion or so on top of that.
Some people say the Washington Redskins should remove the word Redskins from their name because it is offensive to Indians. Here is a better idea; leave Redskins in and delete Washington because it is associated with incompetence and corruption and sets a bad example for young people.
National debt = $19 trillion and counting.

Kevin Kilty
Reply to  David S
March 29, 2016 7:41 am


Reply to  David S
March 29, 2016 8:25 am

19 Trillion does not include the unfunded debt ! $ 127 Trillion in unfunded debt as per Forbes..

Matt Bergin
Reply to  marcus
March 29, 2016 9:19 am

If you were to stack enough $100 bills to equal 19 trillion dollars it would make a column 11,875 miles high or almost half way around the world

Reply to  marcus
March 29, 2016 9:25 am

If I saw a stack of $100 bills to equal 19 trillion dollars I would die of a heart attack with a smile on my face !! ; )..Sorry Anthony, I couldn’t resist one more !! LOL

March 29, 2016 6:58 am

Abraham Lincoln once said of the Federal Government “There are too many pigs for the teats”, but we have now solved that problem by creating an endless supply of Government funded teats.

March 29, 2016 6:59 am

The simple answer is that they want to to control the outcome, and thus they both employ large numbers of potential competitors this way as well as the overwhelm contrary findings by quantity.

Reply to  astonerii
March 29, 2016 7:15 am

Just look! at all the evidence for catastrophic anthropogenic climate change! How can all those confirming data, studies, papers (etc.) be wrong?!

Reply to  PiperPaul
March 29, 2016 7:35 am

…./ sarc

March 29, 2016 7:23 am

First rule of a government project, why build one when you can build two for twice the price!

Owen in GA
Reply to  RHS
March 29, 2016 8:42 am

more like build 2 for 4 times the price…

March 29, 2016 7:29 am

Surely if there are enough groups providing the same data, with each one making random errors in their work, then the average will converge on the truth! (/sarc)

Kevin Kilty
March 29, 2016 7:40 am

Good question. I suppose the concise answer is that taxpayers have not complained about paying for duplicate programs before so our lords and masters will continue running them all. No cabinet level bureaucrat wants to let go of his or her program even if there is another with the same mission over in another cabinet level department–it is a corollary of Parkinson’s Law.

March 29, 2016 7:43 am

It is important to have as many apparently independent sources repeating the same line, in order to improve plausibility.

Joel Snider
Reply to  Leo Smith
March 29, 2016 8:18 am

Exactly – if everybody repeats the same thing, it looks like a lot of corroborating evidence. You can run the same model, for example, and play its effect out on everything from sea-levels to tree frogs – you can get three, four, five weeks of scare stories off of a single ‘study’ – and then reference it for six months or a year in political speeches. Just another example of Goebbels’ methods at work.

March 29, 2016 7:44 am

#1 Because we can.
#2 Scientific method, duh!

March 29, 2016 8:18 am

Dear Bob,

U.S. taxpayers are paying for 17 climate models from 5 climate-modeling groups

With all due respect–and I have a lot for your extraordinary posts on ENSO, and your books explaining it to a layman like me–but federal taxes do not pay for anything. Payers of federal taxes pay for zip. This is a lazy convenient lie that people tell themselves and repeat because they haven’t done their homework, because they believe that the the US federal government is no different than a business or household, or state or local government. It’s not. The US federal government is not run like a business. It is not revenue-constrained. It creates its own currency. In fact, it is the monopoly-supplier of USD worldwide, otherwise someone is counterfeiting them. Yes, payers of State and Local taxes do pay for services, but not federal taxpayers.
Here is the proof: the Daily Treasury Statement, which is the US federal government’s checkbook, and the most complete financial record of how the federal government spends the nation’s dough on a daily basis . . . after it has created that dough, that is.
US Treasury’s bank statement for the end of fiscal year 2015 (September 30):
Please note Table III-A (pg 2 of 2).
In 2015, the US federal government created (issued) $60,775,423,000,000 in USD, or $60.8 trillion.
(It redeemed $60,448,876,000,000 ($60.4 trillion), leaving a total of $326,546,000,000 ($326.5 billion) in its citizens’ bank accounts—what the federal government permits the people to keep—otherwise known as the Net Change in Public Debt Outstanding or “National Debt,” something you never ever want paid back or we’re all broke.)
Please note Table IV (also, pg 2 of 2).
Total federal taxes paid in 2015: $2,789,779,000,000, or $2.8 trillion.
$2.8 trillion did not pay for $60.8 trillion worth of federal government expenditures, which was what the federal government created—per the US Constitution—to provision itself (salaries, buildings, maintenance, social security, medicare, military, 238 years of congressional appropriations that still apply in 2015, foreign aid, etc).
This ‘my federal taxes pay for X’ lie is as bad as the CO2 argument. It’s wrong. And it falsifies the basis of our prosperity, which we haven’t even begun to realize since Nixon wisely took us off the international gold standard in 1971 because we refuse to recognize, or acknowledge, how our federal monetary system works.

Reply to  MRW
March 29, 2016 8:31 am

..Are you really that S.T.U.P.I.D or are you just practicing to be a liberal politician ? Taxpayers pay for it in the end ..PERIOD !

Reply to  marcus
March 29, 2016 8:38 am

Marcus, you need to tone it down. A couple of your comments have already been deleted due to them containing some pretty ugly statements. You’ve been warned previously that the sort of comments you have been leaving violation the site policy. This will be your last warning. Shape up or be shipped out.

Janice Moore
Reply to  marcus
March 29, 2016 8:50 am

Marcus!!! DO not get “shipped out,” okay? Your enthusiasm is a DELIGHT (and yes, I can see that we need to be careful to remember that this is, essentially, Anthony’s living room and respect his rules).

Reply to  marcus
March 29, 2016 8:51 am

You have no clue what you are talking about. Examine the data, although I admit it’s complicated until you get a handle on it. There is an enormous difference between how the federal government and the non-federal government (business, households, state/local government, foreign sector) operates when it comes to the USD.

Reply to  marcus
March 29, 2016 9:13 am

..Sorry Anthony, didn’t see this till now, but outrageously misleading claims are really starting to get under my skin ! Maybe I’ll stop yelling and just go back to listening for a while..Dr. S will love that !! ; )

Reply to  marcus
March 29, 2016 9:15 am

…Hi Janice !! ; ) ( how come my smilies always look like doo doo ? )

Janice Moore
Reply to  marcus
March 29, 2016 12:19 pm

Hi, Marcus. I don’t think your smilies look like that. What are you talking about? lol Try not winking, like this, 😉 … and just doing a straight … 🙂 smile. That’s all I can think of (shrug).
Here (for inspiration):
{: |)}
Bye for now,

Reply to  MRW
March 29, 2016 9:50 am

Marcus, you call the US Treasury’s Daily Treasury Statement an “outrageously misleading claim?”

Reply to  MRW
March 29, 2016 10:32 am

It’s really very simple. The US Treasury’s Daily Treasury Statement DOES NOT include ” Unfunded liabilities ” …as per Obama’s ” adjustments ” to reporting…Kinda like the ” unemployment numbers “.. , which don’t include Americans that stopped looking for work !! If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything !

Reply to  MRW
March 29, 2016 10:19 pm

Specifically, what “unfunded liabilities” are those? Name them.

Reply to  MRW
March 30, 2016 2:38 am

Payers of federal taxes pay for zip.

Really? So I can stop filing my Form 1040s and keep the money for my own purposes as, based on your comments, you presumably must be doing?
So where does the $1.9 trillion in Federal income taxes in fiscal 2016 actually go? To other players in a Monopoly game?

Reply to  RalphDaveWestfall
March 30, 2016 7:51 am

Great questions. But I’m afraid the answers are so arcane you’re going to want to bash my head against the wall. However, understanding that the federal government does not need revenue to provision itself is the key to wrapping your head around this. When Congress ‘appropriates’ or spends, no one calls the IRS and asks how much money we have in the kitty. All new money that the USG creates—via these Congressional appropriations—is brand-new interest-free into the real economy, and has nothing to do with taxes collected after the fact.

So I can stop filing my Form 1040s and keep the money for my own purposes

We’ve had a fiat currency since 1933, which is by definition a coercive system and leads to the phrase “the full faith and credit of the United States.”. No one would work for the USD if they didn’t have to pay taxes and be subject to severe penalties for not doing it. There would be no unemployment because people would have individual means of providing for themselves and their families in the jungle that would otherwise exist.
In modern economies, taxes control and maintain the value of the currency, and it is supposed to stabilize the economy, just as the massive war spending from 1939-1945 stabilized the US economy then and created the middle class.
When the economy is in the tank in a capitalistic system such as ours, Congress needs to cut taxes and increase federal spending—give people jobs—to increase the flow of USD into the economy. (One USD of federal spending usually creates $3-4 of new wealth in the private sector—I think that’s the ratio). When it’s running red hot, Congress needs to increase taxes and cut spending to reduce the flow of USD in the economy to maintain price stability and and keep inflation at bay.
This is from the macroeconomic (federal government) point-of-view, RalphDaveWestfall. Not the microeconomic, or private sector, or non-federal government, point-of-view.
Knowing the difference between the two points-of-view is vital. One example is the word “Debt.” ‘Debt’ is a contronym. When you’re talking about the federal government, debt means new money creation; it’s the nation’s equity—yes, created out of ‘thin air’ for the general welfare of the People, as the Constitution says in the Preamble. When you’re talking the non-federal government use of the USD, debt is real go**am debt: you gotta put up collateral, pay interest, and pay it back. . . .but it all nets to zero across the micro level. Only federal government spending increases the net financial assets to the American people.

So where does the $1.9 trillion in Federal income taxes in fiscal 2016 actually go?

Technically, they’re “extinguished.” Everything is extinguished when it’s returned to its Creator. And the reduction of currency (national ‘unit of account’) available to the real economy actually increases the value of that currency, or maintains it, because there’s less of it in the real economy.
In our case (the US), these tax payments are recorded in federal Tax & Loan Accounts at the various district Federal Reserve locations, whichever District you pay to. These paid taxes are accounting artefacts because the federal government has to account for its doings under the federal double-accounting entry system. A.C.C.O.U.N.T. for its actions, in other words. Write it down somewhere. (Again, technically, the US federal government uses a quadruple-accounting entry system, but that is way too inside-baseball to get into here.)
Someone got really pi**ed at me when I was trying to explain this and said, “Oh yeah? Then if what you’re saying it true, the federal government can give me and everyone in the US a trillion dollars each, right?” I said, “Yes, technically it could.” But that would mean the price of your house would be anywhere from a trillion (shack) to $50 trillion (McMansion) and the price of a cauliflower around $400 million, but no one could afford to visit the US or trade with us. Etcetera.

Reply to  RalphDaveWestfall
April 3, 2016 7:12 pm


the federal government can give me and everyone in the US a trillion dollars each, right? I said, ‘Yes, technically it could.’ But that would mean the price of your house would be anywhere from a trillion (shack) to $50 trillion (McMansion) and the price of a cauliflower around $400 million, but no one could afford to visit the US or trade with us.

Cutting through the volume of your reply, you are admitting that our taxes are necessary to prevent wild inflation. So your claim that “Payers of federal taxes pay for zip” is misleading at best.

March 29, 2016 8:27 am

Great article Bob
If one looks at the TOTAL budget for climate change from your reference: (https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/legislative_reports/fcce-report-to-congress.pdf ) the US Government spends approximately $ 20 Billion every year, year after year, for the total climate change effort including Research. Add that up over 20 years and it is approaching 1/2 trillion dollars.
Again the duplication of effort is significant in the bio-fuels and other alternative energy subsidies. As one who once followed the biofuels “business” closely and consulted on duplicate efforts it is clear that there is considerable overlap.
Also it is clear that a significant amount of the funding is spent on going to Conferences rather than development of alternative fuels. Either those rewarding the subsidies are not qualified to judge the merits of the proposal or they don’t care if the proposal is different that all the other subsidized activities. We need to have the Patent office skills to root out duplication’s or repeating the same failures again and again.
It seems as though the agenda is to get as many individuals supporting the effort as possible rather than make sure the efforts are productive. The lack of results and numerous failures tell the story.

March 29, 2016 8:39 am

Why are U.S. Taxpayers Supporting Numerous Duplications of Effort

Because Washington is run by Lawyers who know little about Science or Economics.
Two competing agencies will do very well in an administration where one would be found unnecessary.

Reply to  GTL
March 29, 2016 8:59 am

I don’t mind the duplication of effort. What bothers me is that these efforts aren’t in service to opposite points-of-view, or hypotheses, something that Colorado scientist Bill Grey advocates and which I agree with.

Reply to  MRW
March 29, 2016 9:11 am

An ideological driven administration, as Obama’s is, would never allow allow the search for truth to interfere with it’s political agenda.

Reply to  MRW
March 29, 2016 9:20 am

No s**t, GTL. Obama is so clueless about how the federal monetary system works, and so is his Clinton-era Treasury Secretary (a fellow lawyer who was instrumental in creating the Global Financial Crisis, btw, when he created the Balanced Budget Act of 1996 or 97), that he (O.) actually proclaimed a few years ago–2009? 2010?–that the US is broke, and that we’re running out of money. Effing Facepalm! You can add all the other Clinton-era yokels in there as well: Larry Summer, Geithner, all of them. We could have been out of the Great Recession within a year if they knew what they were doing.

Reply to  MRW
March 29, 2016 10:51 am

…GTL….+ infinity…..

Owen in GA
March 29, 2016 8:48 am

The NRL will continue to do sea ice measurements whether all the other duplication is consolidated or not. Submarine operators are very interested in where there are openings and where the shelf is thin enough to break. They may stop sharing their more innocuous findings with others. The same can be said of the USAF’s weather forecasting program and space weather analysis. Sure others are doing it too, but not looking for the same details that support defense operations. (Believe it or not DoD Weather reports can be classified due to tipping operational details.)

March 29, 2016 9:17 am

Yes they are all necessary.
Having multiple groups trying different methods and data gives you insight into structural uncertainty.
With some data, like satellites, structural uncertainty is huge and dominates.
For the record Giss data requires 1/4 of a man year.
The code just runs.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
March 29, 2016 9:36 am

Given these are the groups that claim the science is settled why do they need larger budgets now than when the science was not settled?

Reply to  Steven Mosher
March 29, 2016 10:26 am

Steven you are badly mistaken when it comes to alternative fuels, I know I have consulted in that industry on numerous failed projects, yet they keep failing to meet the cellulosic requirements for auto fuels by a wide margin. 50 people cannot get more blood out of a stone than one. Also I look at the numerous spaghetti plots all giving different answers, Those models don’t come cheap! Just proves thy are nonsense.
Tell me what accomplishments we have to show for a half trillion dollars from government spending for useful alternative liquid fuels.
Almost nothing!
Do you need the list of failed subsidized projects like Range Fuels?

Reply to  Steven Mosher
March 29, 2016 10:28 am

Funny all these multiple groups haven’t been able to figure out what is wrong.
A red team might help your structure business, moshe, rather than multiple construction gangs erecting the same structures on unstable foundations.

Reply to  kim
March 29, 2016 10:46 am

Moshe lives in his own little green bubble !

March 29, 2016 9:32 am

The question in the subject is easily answered by realizing we have yet to spend all the money of all our unborn future generations. Only when that has occurred will responsible budgeting return.

Boulder Skeptic
Reply to  dp
March 29, 2016 9:19 pm

Only when that has occurred will responsible budgeting return.

Geez, I wish I had you optimism… about the return of responsible budgeting, ever.

March 29, 2016 10:46 am

Are they all necessary?
Apparently we need one or two more as no one, as yet, gets it right.

Reply to  Ron Voisin
March 29, 2016 10:50 am

..Well, when Anthony W. or Bob T. get nominated as Science Advisor for Cruz or Trump, it will definitely be the last one !

March 29, 2016 10:52 am

Because there’s no controlling authority and the subject’s a pig-feeding trough?
I mean NO insult to pigs. I love pigs.

Reply to  Quotidian
March 29, 2016 11:30 am

..You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig !

March 29, 2016 11:10 am

Another example of mis-guided spending of tax dollars with foolish projects in the name of claiming CO 2 is a pollutant. After years of delays, clean coal plant still not operational. Duplication of failures.
It is also turning into a lesson in just how hard survival is likely to be.
As clean-coal projects go, Kemper — even with its delays and cost overruns — practically counts as a success story. Another high-profile test case for the technology — FutureGen 2.0 in central Illinois — died three months ago after its federal subsidies evaporated. Two more major federally funded demonstration projects in California and Texas are also imperiled.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2015/05/billion-dollar-kemper-clean-coal-energy-project-000015#ixzz44JfkZfwv
Follow us: @politico on Twitter | Politico on Facebook

Robbie Depp
March 29, 2016 11:29 am

“Unknown to most climate laypersons, climate models are not simulating Earth’s climate as it existed in the past, as it exists now, or as it might exist in the future. ” Amen. If models can’t replicate the past & current climatological structure of stationary ridges and troughs, then how could does one confidently distinguish projected responses from parameterized CO2 forcing versus amplified errors? Ignoring this shows bias, IMO.

March 29, 2016 11:58 am

The purpose of concurrent multiple redundant efforts is to search stochastically for a single result, the atypical 1% statistical outlier, which can be adopted to the exclusion of all others and which might provide a convincingly persuasive result, uniquely different from the others that have gone before, that will convince all comers overwhelmingly that the alarmist agenda is justified. This is a sort of shotgun approach to scientific research.
This amounts to doing one thing many different times and expecting a different result. There is a term for such endeavors – “insanity”.

March 29, 2016 3:32 pm

The situation regarding these wrong model simulations is worse then described. The government has to borrow the money to support these useless efforts. I estimate that the money the federal government is borrowing today will end up costing the tax payers more than 12 times the money borrowed to repay it over the next 170 years.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
March 29, 2016 6:31 pm

If we look at Figure 1 and Figure 2, after 1985, they present opposite pattern. That is decreasing rainfall increases temperature — drough years increase the temperature. That means the increase in temperature after 1985 is not associated with global warming — anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Secondly, do we have accurate rainfall data covering all climate systems?

March 29, 2016 6:57 pm

But, there is only one Farmers Almanac!

Reply to  Jjs
March 29, 2016 8:54 pm

Strictly speaking, there is no “Farmers Almanac.” There are, however, the “Farmers’ Almanac” (1818) and the “Old Farmer’s Almanac” (1792), competing publications.

Reply to  Jjs
March 30, 2016 6:40 am

And for $6.79 each.

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