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Discussion: (13 comments)

  1. re: “Total federal outlays are currently around 23% of GDP”

    No. Unfortunately you are repeating the usual misleading figures, they hide the real total but you can find it in 1 place in the budget. From the FY2014 Obama budget:
    “For 2012, gross outlays to the public were $4,027 billion, or 25.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Offsetting collections and offsetting receipts from the public are subtracted from gross outlays to the public to yield “net outlays,” which is the most common measure of outlays cited and generally referred to as simply “outlays.” For 2012 net outlays were $3,537 or 22.8 percent of GDP.”

    All their historical tables are “net outlays”, and the BEA data also hides spending in a similar way.

    The GAO has in the past complained about the way they hide spending. If you look closely you can also find in Treasury documents an explanation of the $trillions in intra-governmental debt (pensions, etc) left off the official national debt figures. This page has links to the various government documents detailing the ways they try to hide spending and debt.

  2. Barry Soetoro

    SHOCK: Entitlements are crowding out other Govt spending!@!!

  3. In addition free market advocates unfortunately play right into the hands of big government advocates when they talk in terms of government as a % of GDP when there is no apriori reason that it should maintain a particular % of GDP. The share of GDP going to agriculture declined drastically over the last couple of centuries. As entities become more efficient, their share of GDP shrinks.

    It is useful in economics at times to talk about it as a share of GDP, but letting it maintain a particular % of GDP is giving them an automatic built in expectation of spending increases. It is like “baseline budgets” where they claim slower growth is a “cut”.

    As this page points out, if you focus on real $ spending per capita:
    ” The Federal government spent 3.7 times as much per person in 2011 as it did 50 years ago in 1961 when Democratic hero JFK was in office (adjusted for inflation). If Kennedy were around to propose his level of spending today he’d be denounced by the mainstream media as a radical extremist.”

  4. Todd Mason

    So how about closing the loop here instead of dangling a misleading perceptiion. Medicare was about $600 billion last year, or about 11 percent of GDP’s govt expenditures of $5.5 trillion. (Your bar chart above includes medical care that actually was paid for by consumers and their insurers.)

    What would the govt/gdp chart look like if you added the GDP figure and Medicare expenses? Or more specificallly, how much healthcare inflation would you need for the 11 percent tail to wag the 89 percent dog over the seven years since 2005?

    1. mesa econoguy

      Toad, what the hell are you prattling on about?

      Mediscare is broke. Finished. Toast. Get used to it.

      1. Todd Mason

        Me say Mr. P deliberately mislead readers by implying that govt spending plus Medicare not at recorded low. (Maybe. Maybe not.)

        Me say Mr P deliberately mislead readers by publishing all healthcare spending (~15 percent of GDP) rather than Medicare (~3 percent.)

        Me say Mr P misuses Mandel’s point — that healthcare spending is not checkbook spending. (As if insurance premiums are free.)

        1. mesa econoguy

          You are an idiot.

  5. mesa econoguy

    Gov’t spending is at an all time high, and using an inflated baseline and pointing at small percentage increases as the left dishonestly does won’t change that fact.

    It is at an all time high due to entitlement spending.

    Further, it should be mentioned that Obama was far more involved in the 2009 budgetary and spending program than any other incoming president, so that is attributable to him as well. Ignorant leftists (redundant) refuse to acknowledge this.

    1. Todd Mason

      Me say Mesa wants to the change the subject because Mr P dishonest.

      1. mesa econoguy

        You continue to be an idiot.

    2. Pevinsghost,_$1.2_trillion_for_national_security/

      1/2 of government outlays are “Defense” related, & you think entitlements are the only problem?

      1. mesa econoguy

        Never said they were, but entitlements are the driver of our catastrophic debt situation

        Both need to be reduced, but entitlements need to be reduced by orders of magnitude/shut off entirely.

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