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The Deficit Game : These days, everybody from Bill Clinton to Lloyd Bentsen to Alan Greenspan is saying that the national debt is a big problem. And their second sound bite is that everybody in government is working on this very "hard," but that it is a very "complicated" area with "no easy answers." Take the Deficit Aptitude Test and see if you agree.

July 11, 1993|SCOTT SHUGAR | Scott Shugar is a contributing editor of the Washington Monthly. His last story for this magazine was on the McLaughlin Group

1. In 1989 and 1990, Carnival Cruise Lines paid a federal income tax rate of what percentage on profits of $411 million? a) 10.7% b) 5% c) 31.5% d) 2.7%

2. A U.S. senator retiring this year after 20 years in office will receive a combined federal benefits package totaling $--------------. a) $500,000 b) $2 million c) $2.5 million d) $1.2 million

3. During the 1950s, the corporate share of the total federal income tax collected was 35%. In the 1980s, the corporate share was what percentage? a) 42% b) 22% c) 11% d) 30%

4. Mr. Smith is the average federal employee living in Washington. Mr. Jones is the average American. What is the relationship between their salaries? a) They earn the same. b) Jones makes 20% more than Smith. c) Smith makes 20% more than Jones. d) Smith makes 55% more than Jones.

5. Under President Clinton's original budget plan, the national debt would increase $---------------- during the next four years. a) $1.45 trillion b) $500 million c) $200 billion d) $500.55 billion

6. A recent offering on the Treasury Department luncheon menu was seafood bisque, shrimp and crab meat pasta salad, fruit salad and a strawberry sundae. The price charged to Treasury employees for the meal was $------------. a) $10.95 b) $4.75 c) $9.75 d) $12

7. There are ---------- personnel managers at the Pentagon. a) 4,000 b) 756 c) 278 d) 47

8. The current federal budget spends $------------ on weapons not requested by the Pentagon. a) $600 million b) $4.3 billion c) $1.9 billion d) $1 billion

9. Nearly $-------------- in Social Security payments, Medicare benefits and federal pensions annually go to households with incomes of more than $100,000. a) $157 million b) $6.8 billion c) $7.9 billion d) $2.9 billion

10. In fiscal year 1990, one of the big budget cuts came when the U.S. government cut $2.9 billion by ---------------- a) canceling the V-22 Osprey aircraft b) means-testing Social Security benefits c) moving a military payday to the fiscal year 1989 budget by shifting it from a Monday to the previous Friday d) capping congressional pay raises.

11. Since 1920, America's farming population has shrunk 75%. During that same period, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's farm-related work has ----------. a) shrunk 50% b) tripled c) stayed the same size d) shrunk 10%

12. In 1991, what percentage of Social Security benefits were subject to income tax? a) 55% b) 35% c) 6.5% d) 15%

13. Ten thousand shares of Apple Computer are bought at $2.50 a share and later sold at $30 a share, yet no federal tax is paid on the profit reaped. How is that possible? a) Apple Computer receives a special exemption because it's a technology stock. b) The stock was bought by Fred, who bequeathed it to Ned, who sold it when he inherited it. c) The transaction was part of an insider trading scheme. d) The transaction was part of a money-laundering scheme.

14. Between 1988 and 1990, the U.S. Postal Service lost $1.4 billion. During that time, top postal executives were ------------. a) fired for poor performance b) subject to a pay freeze c) rewarded with nearly $20 million in bonuses d) forced to take a pay cut.

15. True or false: Members of Congress can get pay raises without voting on them. 16. From 1980 to 1990, the cost of replacing those expelled from the military for being homosexuals was approximately $------------.

a) $900,000 b) $500 million c) $100 million d) $20 million 17. Some members of the White House staff pay $-------------- a month for their health insurance coverage.

a) $100 b) $200 c) $300 d) $400 18. For a monthly premium of $----------, retired military officers get to pay $---------- a day for stays in military hospitals, while their dependents pay $---------- a day.

a) $15, $15, $25 b) $90, $50, $60 c) $90, $60, $65 d) nothing, $4, $9 19. The cost per graduated doctor at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the Pentagon's own medical school, is $--------------.

a) $144,000 b) $545,000 c) $85,000 d) $44,000 20. What percentage of the mailing costs run up by bulk mailers such as charities and political organizations is paid for by taxpayers?

a) 5% b) 10% c) 15% d) zero 21. The difference between what taxpayers are legally required to pay and what they actually pay is currently $------------ a year. The IRS now audits what percentage of all returns?

a) $6 billion, 20% b) $94 billion, .9% c) $12 billion, 18% d) $40 billion, 12% 22. Roughly what portion of all agricultural subsidy payments go to farmers with annual sales revenues of more than $1 million?

a) 10% b) 40% c) 25% d) 66% 23. The total number of committees and subcommittees in the House and Senate is ------------.

a) 78 b) 93 c) 266 d) 104 24. In President Clinton's original proposed budget, Capitol Hill gets a ---------------- and the judicial branch gets a ----------------.

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