Wednesday, February 16, 2011


The Mercatus Center at George Mason does a lot of interesting research.  They published the following trendline on federal spending as a percentage of GDP.

There are at least three conclusions from the chart.

#1 - When the GOP took over congress in 1994 spending was restrained.
#2 - As the GOP got more comfortable in its position, that restraint began to abate.
#3 - When the Dems took congress spending grew rapidly.

There are also a couple of bonus ideas:
#1 - Both the final year of Bush and the first two years of Obama showed the risks of unbridled spending.
#2 - If you run the spending against economic growth from the beginning of the recession you cannot help but be compelled by the notion that when government spends a substantial part of the economy the positive effects of counter-cyclical spending is diminished.   (Admittedly some believe that the effects were always over-rated but there is little demonstration that all that dough we paid out for things like shovel ready projects and cash for clunkers did anything to lessen the effects of the recession - except of course to put mountains of debt on the backs of future generations.)

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