FYI that's well past inflation.
$1 spending in 1980 = $2.77 spending in 2007 (due to inflation). Federal spending rose from $894M to $2.7T (1980-2007), a factor of 3. Pretty close. Real GDP increased from 5.9T to 13.4T (1980-2007). If taxes remained a constant percentage of GDP, we should now be spending 6.3X 1980.
with more people you can lower the burden on all
The population grew from 227M to 300M (1980-2007). The idea that a larger population doesn't lead to proportionally larger demand for government services (roads, police, courts, etc.) is odd.
the government sextupled spending (>$1 Tril/year -> $6Tril/year)
Given inflation and growth in GDP and population, you'd expect a large growth in federal spending. The actual growth was 3X. (0.894 to 2.7). The U.S federal government spent $3.5T in FY 2010 and is expected to spend $3.8T in FY2011 - large but significantly less than $6T.
Both parties have been simultaneously increasing spending and cutting taxes. It's the combination that has driven the country to its parlous financial state. To blame it all on spending increases is counter-factual.
As for epicentral distance, the intensity drops 90%/100km after the first 100km. If you're 200 km from a magnitude 7 event, the intensity may be low enough to not matter, unless you're up-rupture, or on alluvial soil, or at convergence zone for shockwave reflections, etc. If you're in the SF Bay Area you're less than 100 km from likely epicenters, so it's a few seconds of warning or nothing.
Large events mean large rupture. If you're up-rupture you'll see more intense shaking than at the epicenter, not less. Simple metrics like distance from the epicenter provide no guidance about intensity.
The warning time varies from 0 (at the epicenter) to many seconds farther away. A networked system provides up to 1 second of warning for every 3.6 km from the epicenter. This is enough time to protect equipment and give people a chance to prepare themselves.
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