Monday, February 21, 2011

A Long View of the Federal Budget

This is not a perfect diagram. It’s also hard to see, so I recommend going to the source article, "Deficit Would Stay High for Years to Come" from the February 15th issue of The Wall Street Journal.

Do note that this projects out a few years into the future.

There are four salient points:

1) Note that government spending was essentially uncut during the Reagan administration. This is the popular perception.

2) Note that the surpluses towards the end of the Clinton administration (and Bush was lucky to get one of those, although it was a holdover) are mostly from tax increases.

3) Note that we’re hardwired now for increases in tax revenue every time the economy booms – we’re much more dependent on those booms to make things right than we used to be. This is a big problem if we follow the recipe of many states, which is to crank up spending because tax revenue has gone up.

4) Note the big increases in “other” under Obama. This is more fully “Other Non-Discretionary Spending”. This is all the increases in social services associated with the Great Recession (that’s not bad) that may not have been well thought through – like repeatedly increasing the length of unemployment benefits.

No comments:

Post a Comment