U.S. Defense Budget for 2022

The U.S. Defense budget was signed into law on Monday. A few things that caught my attention:

  1. Increase of 5% (I guess we have to replace all that equipment left behind in Afghanistan).
  2. 2.7% pay raise (which I gather makes up around 2% or so of that 5% increase).
  3. Seems to be focused on keeping “pace militarily with China and Russia.”
  4. “The bill includes $7.1 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative and a statement of congressional support for the defense of Taiwan, measures intended to counteract China’s influence in the region.”
  5. “It also includes $300 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, a show of support in the face of Russian aggression, as well as $4 billion for the European Defense Initiative.”

Let’s look at what keeping “pace militarily with China and Russia” looks like in dollars and sense:

U.S. Budget: $768.2 billion (2022) or 3.42% of GDP in 2019.

Chinese (PRC) Defense Budget: $209.4 billion (2021) or 1.3% of GDP (2021)

Russian Defense Budget: 61.7 billion (2020-21) or 4.3% of GDP (2019).


See: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/biden-signs-bill-authorizing-768-2-billion-in-2022-defense-spending-including-a-2-7-pay-raise-for-service-members-into-law-01640648957?siteid=yhoof2&yptr=yahoo

Russian Invasions – update 1

Well, it appears that the U.S. and Russia will hold “security talks” on Jan. 10, 12 and 13. See: https://news.yahoo.com/1-u-russian-officials-set-035411514.html

I noted in my original post post four possibilities. The last one listed was “4. Or the build up may be the message (most likely option).”

Russian Invasions | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

It does appear that the build up got Russia the attention they wanted. We shall see what comes out of these talks. Suspect they will be more symbolic than substantive.


Coronavirus Mortality Rates in the U.S. ?

I have not posted for a while on the Coronavirus. I noticed on my twitter that people have posted the following stats on COVID from the CDC (Center for Disease Control):

Mortality Rates:

Unvaccinated: 6.1 deaths per 100K
Vaccinated: 0.5 deaths per 100K
Boosted: 0.1 deaths per 100K

I went to their websites and tried to find the stats from the original source, but couldn’t find the magic button that led me to the magic stats, so I will just go with what I saw on twitter. After all, that is the data that is being transmitted through the aether.

Now I gather around 62% of Americans are partially or wholly vaccinated. 38% have taken no vaccines.

Now, there are a mere 331,893,745 people in the U.S. (2021 estimate).

So, 62% of 331,893,745/100K x 0.1 = 206 deaths

In this case, I am assuming that those vaccinated will be boosted. 

And, 38% of 331,893,745/100K x 6.1 = 7,693.

In this case, I am assuming these 38% will not get vaccinated. I would not be surprised if up to half of them do.

Does this really mean we are at the point that the total additional cost of the Coronavirus in the United States is less than 10,000 more lives? I find that hard to believe. In the last 28 days we have lost 35,492. Last week we lost 8,442 people.

To date, we have lost 812,283. This is out of a reported 51,564,141 cases. This calculates at a mortality rate of 1.575% or 1,575 deaths per 100K. This is much higher than 6.1 per 100K. There seems to be a disconnect here.

1. Are the CDC statistics as transmitted by twitter incorrect (I first saw them on Anthony Scaramucci’s feed, but have seen the statistics repeated on other feeds. It was labeled “Latest CDC statistic on deaths from known COVID cases”)?

2. Is the mortality rate of the Delta and Omicron variants much lower than the original virus?

3. Is this just the statistical anomaly created by the most vulnerable people having been vaccinated (or worse) and the unvaccinated are mostly younger and healthier, with a much lower mortality rate?

4. Did I make a math error here somewhere?


Russian Invasions

My son was texting me today about the threat Russia appears to be posing towards Ukraine. Glad he is paying attention. According to an article he read, the Russians have gathered 175,000 troops on the border and 10 days of supply.

Now, according to Wikipedia (which is usually drawn from IISS) the Ukrainian Armed Forces has 255,000 active personnel and 900,000 in reserve as of 2021. In 2016 there were 169,000 personnel in the ground forces: with two armored brigades, 13 mechanized brigades, eight air assault brigades, two mountain warfare brigades, five airmobile brigades and seven rocket and artillery brigades. In 2016 the Air Force had 36,300 personnel, the Navy had 6,500 personnel and the Special Forces had 4,000. I gather these forces have expanded since 2016.

So, it does not look like Russia is planning on marching to Kiev, especially with 10 days of supply. They are probably not even considering creating a land bridge to Crimea.

So what might they be considering:

1. Help the local governments in rebellion take the rest of Donetsk and Lugansk.
2. Replace the local governments in Donetsk and Lugansk with their own governance (possibly in anticipation of formally annexing these two areas).
3. Make violent border demonstrations.
4. Or the build up may be the message (most likely option).

I gather Russia really does not want Ukraine to join NATO. I am not sure that build ups at the border make that point. In fact, it may reinforce Ukraine’s desire to join NATO. On the other hand, invading Donetsk or Lugansk or the rest of Ukraine certainly works against that goal.

Of course the real question is not whether Ukraine wants to join NATO, I gather that is a given. The real question is NATO willing to take on the responsibility of defending Ukraine, especially with two provinces in open revolt and two entities (Crimea and Sevastopol) annexed by Russia. So far, I gather no one significant has made a clear statement on that subject one way or the other. Ukrainian’s NATO membership appears to be in permanent limbo, which I gather that is what Russia prefers. The build up may be for the sake of signaling that it should stay that way. 

One last note: the price of oil is below $70 a barrel (Brent Crude was at 69.92). Last I checked (it was a couple of years ago), Russia needed the price of oil to be at $80 or higher to balance their budget. It was there a month ago, now it is not. Running significant deficits may limit their willingness to explore military options. Perhaps the easiest way to constrain Russian adventurism is to keep the price of oil down.

Rickenbacker at Narragansett Park Speedway – 1915

On September 18, 1915 Eddie Rickenbacker (America’s top ace in the Great War) won the 100 mile race at Narragansett Park Speedway in Providence, Rhode Island. It was his third win that year.

One internet lap board has his lap leader breakdown as (100 one-mile laps):

Eddie Rickenbacker in a Maxwell: leads laps 1-36
Ralph DePalma in a Stutz: leads laps 37-44
Bob Burman in a Peugeot: leads laps 45-63
Ralph DePalma: leads laps 64-76
Eddie Rickenbacker: leads laps 77-100

See: https://www.racing-reference.info/race-results/1915_Providence_Race/UO/

On the other hand, The Boston Sunday Globe dated September 19, 1915, page 15, has a slightly different account. It says:

“He {Rickenbacker] shot into the lead on the first lap, but was crowded back into third place before the second mile ended. There he held his place watching the speed of the others and always within 50 feet of the leader.

But he had to stop in the 15th lap. He had some carburetor trouble, it was stated. Before he got going the leaders had passed around three laps. So it seemed if it was all over for him…

Rickenbacker cut loose, however, and very soon it was apparent that the little car with 1 on its radiator was coming around very frequently. First it was noticed that it had regained the laps lost to the end of the field. Then when 33 miles had been covered he had won back a lap, the leaders being 33 and Rickenbacker 31….

De Palma had the lead in the 37th mile and from that to the 57th, or a distance of 30 miles, he kept in the van. But every time he and Burman made a mile in 54 or 55 seconds Rickenbacker did it about 50 or under. So he continued to cut down the lead. Before 50 miles had been reached he had circled all the other again and so they were then but one mile ahead of him.

Burman then began to show signs of speed and to tear away from De Palma, having passed into first place on the 58th mile. And each mile, while he was leaving De Palma behind, Rickenbacker was gaining on him. The spectators then began to sit up and shout. And the shouting encouraged Rickenbacker, for he smiles and let his motor car roar its way a little faster.

When 60 miles had been reached, he was swinging around the upper curve with an abandon that seemed reckless, for he appeared to handling the car like a toy. It would whirl around and the rear wheels would start for the sky or the upper edge of the track only to get yanked back like an unruly horse that shied at a street car.

Then it would roar down the track with the driver laughing and nodding to his pit attendants, who help up blackboards telling him how fast he was going, his position, etc. Having evened up matter, it was then his plan to get the lead. De Palma was the first he went after, and when he had swung over the line on the 72nd mile and the cars tore around the first quarter, Rickenbacker went into second place.

It was now Burman only that separated him from first place. Then the real race began. One hardly realized that the Maxwell had passed when it was around again. It came so fast that people mistook it for some other car, and they asked where it was, no knowing it passed. A few times Rickenbacker was pocketed by some of the others, and to see the way he wiggled through without slower up was amazing. 

When the cars came swinging down for the 73rd mile it was seen that Rickenbacher was closing up on Burgamn. The passed over the line five seconds ahead. There was no question then of the outcome, it seemed. On the next lap they tor down side by side and it seemed was if Rickenbacker was playing with Burman.

They crossed the line with Burman four feet in the lead. For two more laps they swung around side by side and then, entering the 77th miles, Rickenbacker seemed to infuse new life into the his car, and he got into the lead. When he went over the line on that mile he was nine seconds ahead of Burman…

So as it neared the 100 mile every one was resigned to Rickenbacker’s win. And he crossed the line amid a great ovation, with 1 minute and 1 second to spare. Burman finished second, Haupt third, De Palma fourth.”

So, the  “race results” internet site only agrees with the newspaper report given at that time on lap 1, laps 37-44, laps 58-63, and laps 77-100. For the majority of the laps, they differ as to who was leading.


Note: The paper refers to him as Rickenbacker, although at this time he spelled his name Rickenbacher.