Thursday, October 11, 2012

Spending, GDP & Other Republican Fairy Tales

Republicans are trying to use fear to convince voters that government spending as a percent of GDP is growing and must be cut. "Spending is out of control! If we don't stop it, we're doomed!"

As the first graph below shows, over the last century, at various points, spending as a percent of GDP was at, near or above it's current level. It was much higher after the Great Depression and during World War II. 

Like then, we were now in the midst of an economic downturn second only to the Great Depression. And, we've been involved in war for the last decade. Overall, an extremely similar situation. 

Spending then was almost twice what it is now. And that spending, after the Great Depression, created the middle class. 

Today, the middle class is shrinking. Plus, we're spending a lot less to rebuild our economy. We should be afraid of austerity, not spending.


It's great to hear all this talk of decreasing federal government spending...but, the fact of the matter is, most government spending is done at the state and local level. At the federal level, money goes to defense, Social Security and Medicare. At the state and local level, spending is on police, education, and libraries, amongst other necessities. Regardless, this spending is done because citizens like these programs and services. If we cut federal spending, that just means states have to pay more - which means, they have to tax more to pay for the services citizens want.

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