In light of the final debt ceiling kabuki theater, lets take a look at the historical government spending, via Jim Bianco of Bianco Research. Jim gives us this snapshot looking at total Federal government outlays as a percentage of GDP:

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click for larger chart

Category: Taxes and Policy

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

52 Responses to “Government Spending as a Percentage of GDP”

  1. foosion says:

    Apparent increase in recent spending is due to slow to non-existent GDP growth (so spending is a larger percentage) and rise in automatic spending rather than decisions to spend more.

  2. DebbieSmith says:

    As shown in this article, should interest rates rise to 7 percent, interest payments on America’s debt alone could reach 136 percent of GDP over the coming decades:

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2011/01/interesting-look-at-interest-on-us-debt.html

    It appears that interest owing on the debt for this fiscal year alone will reach a new record level above $450 billion, more than what is spent on Medicaid and more than the GDP of all but the top 20 nations in the world.

    Perhaps that’s where government spending will end up in the future – paying for Washington’s mistakes today.

  3. jgrabell says:

    I want to go back to the times when there were no sewers or highways and reckless government spending was under control.

  4. farmera1 says:

    Notice how the Debt goes up when the war drums are active. Cut taxes and start a two front war and guess what happens, debt goes up. Now there is a surprise.

  5. machinehead says:

    As can be seen from the chart, until 1913 federal spending averaged about 3% of GDP. During a lifetime, the average 19th century U.S. citizen had no direct contact with the government in Washington. That’s what life in an actual federal republic is like.

    Three baleful changes in 1913 killed the federal system: (1) income tax; (2) Federal Reserve Act; (3) direct election of Senators. As a result, the states lost their Senate veto, while the central (no longer federal except in name) government acquired the taxation and credit creation power to metastasize into the helpless but lethal monster that menaces our safety and prosperity today.

    Any central government that plunders more than 10% of GDP is inherently tyrannical.

  6. rhrwc says:

    Thanks, jgrabell, I did not realize that the current government spending was being used to build out infrastructure such as roads and sewers.

  7. mvetsel says:

    Finally, some applicable info. Consider the difference between now and 2000, the last of the Clinton/Gingrich years.

    2000 (%GDP): Taxes 20%, Spending 18%
    2011 (%GDP): Taxes 15%, Spending 25%

    Keeping in mind that the 5% GDP gap in revenues is MOSTLY due being at opposite extremes of the cycle (in 2007 taxes were 18.5% of GDP), the more pressing problem is the MOST of the 7% increase in spending is structural.

    So have could we fix this 10% GDP fiscal deficit relative to the end of Clinton’s presidency?

    Eliminate Bush’s tax cuts “for the rich” (1/5 of the Bush tax cuts): 0.5% of GDP
    Eliminate Bush’s tax cuts for the not “rich” (4/5 of tax cuts): 1.5% of GDP

    Return to peak of revenue cycle: 3.5% of GDP
    Reduce spending to 2000 levels: 7% of GDP

    That’s why of this conventional wisdom bs and propaganda from the NYT and it’s lefty blog cheerleaders comes so completely short of fixing the fiscal gap.

    We have to decide as a country if we’re going to have year 2000 levels of spending (18%) or if we’re going to have 2011 levels of spending (25%) going forward. If it’s the latter, ending all of the wars, letting tax cuts expire for the rich and the middle class and won’t even come close to closing the fiscal gap.

    -Mercy

  8. ByteMe says:

    What the chart leaves out is that if you overlay the recessions of the USA, you’ll see that it maps closely to the spikes that are not related to all-out war. And the declines after the spikes are related to the good times that follow a recession.

    Just as Keynes would have wanted. :)

    Why does this feel like 1937 all over again… well, except for the rise of Germany?

  9. rktbrkr says:

    Once there was an income tax it bacame easier to wage wars, we have been on a continuous war footing since the early 40s and pretty continuous conflicts since then too.

    I’d love to see a comparison of our Korea,Viet,Afgan, Iraq (I&II) war costs compared to the increase in our national debt since the end of WWII.

    ~~~

    BR: Check out the history of US wars — income tax does not seem to be a precursor

  10. louiswi says:

    MH:…Any central government that plunders more than 10% of GDP is inherently tyrannical….

    Not sure that statement works when we decide (and yes as a nation that is what we have decided) that unrelenting 24/7/365 war is what we have decided to spend our % of GDP on. Because we are making enemies faster than we are killing them, I envision 100% of GDP being plundered by the Central Government.

  11. NotQuiteSo says:

    Machinehead – you write “During a
    lifetime, the average 19th century
    U.S. citizen had no direct contact
    with the government in
    Washington. That’s what life in
    an actual federal republic is like.”

    And what was life like for an average
    19th century American? It was
    nasty, brutish and short. If he or
    she was lucky to survive childbirth
    and infancy, he grew up contending
    with disease, tainted food, water and
    air, a grinding and miserable life
    in a sweatshop, illiteracy, and almost
    no hope for a better life. Not always,
    but often enough, those in favor of
    going back to pre-progressive America
    conveniently forget the benefits of
    clean food, water and air, child labor
    laws, universal education, government
    funded research in agriculture and
    health care, and other gains given
    to us in the last century by an
    activist government so that we
    aren’t left to fester and die in our own
    filth in a tenement, doing piecework
    16 hours a day to earn our 1500
    calories a day.

  12. constantnormal says:

    Yes, we are spending more of our (much larger) GDP through the government than we did during WWI … however, when you look at our current military strength, it is SOOOO MUCH LARGER than ANY other military force on the planet, that you can easily see how this might be.

    But it’s where we are, and we CANNOT simply whack it by half or 2/3 or 3/4 — at least not in one fell swoop. Think about this — where would we find employment for the troops, if we were to start bringing large numbers of them home again?

    So we have to make changes slowly, spread out over a decade, and we have to elect congress-critters who will not immediately overturn the work of the previous congress, simply so they can loot the budget in favor of their sponsors. That happens with every new congress. I don’t really see how our form of government can defend itself against this.

    And we should also recognize that there are really two battles being fought here — the Tea Party folks look at the size of the debt, and the low rates, and can easily imagine what would happen if rates were to rise (OK, most of them cannot put that long a though into their heads, but a few of them can handle that). Their focus is on reducing the aggregate amount of debt. But I’m pretty sure that there is not a one among them capable of understanding that changes to such a huge thing must be made slowly, so as to not destroy the economy in the process.

    And then we have the other argument, that says we can control the budget by strangling it via the debt ceiling. This has been classical Repooblican claptrap for a long time, and they have worked assiduously to explode the government debt, keeping it right up there against the ceiling, so their tools of choice (the artificial debt ceiling itself) would be right at hand when they needed it — like every budget cycle.

    Now we find that the two arguments are in conflict not only with a functioning economy, but with each other as well. This is no longer a Repooblicans vs Democlowns argument, this is a civil war in the Repooblican party itself (while the Democlowns pick their noses and appear confused, as is their nature).

    Holy gridlock, Batman!

    But going back to the aggregate levels of government spending, it’s true, we do a lot more with government these days than we ever have before. Modern society is a lot different than it ever was before.

    And if you look at all the stuff that government does NOT do — and should — things like prosecuting fraud and abuse by corporations that are too big for local prosecutors to have a chance at winning against, especially as they can easily “skip town” and move out of any state that gives them trouble. Also, things like monitoring legislators and people appointed by legislators/presidents for corruption and fraud (of course that would be prohibited!). Well, it’s clear that we need a lot MORE government spending in those areas, just as there are many others (mostly in the area of transfer payments to corporations, farmers, etc — stuff that hurts a market economy, and hurts it bad) where we are spending WAY more than we should be.

    When you net it all out, I suspect that what our problem REALLY is — beyond having a completely corrupt political system — is a lack of thoughtful spending, of deciding what is the best way to spend the limited resources available, what directions the country/society ought to be moving in (which must be something that is never discussed on Capitol Hill, given the horrible results we get). The debt ceiling, even the huge amount of debt, are merely symptoms of the underlying failure of government to do what it is supposed to be doing.

    A good start would be eliminating outside money, funding elections from the public till instead of the private bribe. Until the corrosive influence of outside money is halted, nothing else is really going to matter, and no real progress is possible at all.

    Anyone see a snowball’s chance of that happening? I didn’t think so. Me either.

  13. freejack says:

    BR,
    The graph shows no spike starting 2002 – 2003 as would be expected with the start of 2 wars (and we know the wars didn’t pay for themselves because the national debt doubled under George Bush).
    Is this because the Bush administration kept the wars’ costs ‘off balance sheet’?
    Is the spike at the end of the ‘aughts’ the wars being placed back on the balance sheet?

    So I guess government borrowing doesn’t count as government ‘spending’.

  14. rip says:

    Excuse me, but IMHO, and I knew one of the pioneers. Tea Partiers are primarily a spinoff of CA Prop13. It’s not just the Fed tax that beefs them. It’s the property tax that is the big dog. Why should I, as a wealthy person, have to pay an “exorbitant” tax just because I can afford a 10,000 s.f. house?

    Agree about the civil/military split. We are stuck. Common topic off the table in DC. What are all those well-trained warriors going to do when they wind up hope and have no jobs?

  15. GrafSchweik says:

    ByteMe wrote: Why does this feel like 1937 all over again… well, except for the rise of Germany?

    If the T Partyers and the rest of the Repugs have their way, we’ll be Germany…

  16. David in D says:

    I would like to see total GDP and Spending also plotted. The line is meaningless without seeing how output fluctuates.

    Also, to the posters like machinehead who imply that having a 19th century Republic is preferable I ask you if that is really the kind of society you want to live in. I am all for restraining spending but really have you thought through what your daily life would be like if seniors didn’t have Social Security and Medicare? I’ll remind you that the ‘good ole days’ that rabid conservatives point to never existed. Social Security was invented because people don’t (or can’t) save adequately for retirement. Any sane person realizes there has to be some form of basic social safety net and any big changes have to occur over generations not years.

  17. tagyoureit says:

    Here is a list of countries with Government Spending that is by this measure % of GDP, “under control”:
    Dominican Republic 19.1
    Hong Kong 18.6
    Cameroon 18.5
    Madagascar 18.5
    Taiwan 18.5
    Haiti 18.2
    Laos 18.2
    Uganda 17.8
    Thailand 17.7
    Guinea 17.4
    Peru 17.3
    Philippines 17.3
    Singapore 17.0
    Bangladesh 15.9
    Central African Republic 15.5
    Macau 14.9
    Paraguay 14.8
    Cambodia 13.9
    Guatemala 13.7
    Turkmenistan 12.3
    Burma 8.0

    Folks really living the good life in Republic of the Union of Myanmar!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_spending

  18. koreyel says:

    rktbrkr:

    Once there was an income tax it bacame easier to wage wars, we have been on a continuous war footing since the early 40s and pretty continuous conflicts since then too.

    That’s actually a pretty profound insight. Which leads me to note that the graph/map is properly labeled. I may have to fix it. It should show the Korean war and the three current wars. Not just the Civil, and World Wars. Aren’t these modern wars just as costly?

  19. DeDude says:

    These types of graphs are pretty meaningless. I could cut the federal gobinment size in half by making social security a non-profit outfit with government appointed trustees, rather than a part of government. Nothing would have changed and puff gobinement would be half as big. The real issues are what functions and at what level should things be decided and executed by “we the people” and what should be decided by “them the corporations”. Unfortunately, our current path is to obliterate the difference; making the choice one of either directly or indirectly being ruled by the corporations.

    @constantnormal; I agree with most of what you say, but have to take exception to the idea that tea-partiers are worried about the debt and rates. Their current circus act is going to increase the rates and cost about 1 trillion over the next decade. If they were really concerned about debt levels and rates they would pack it up and take their fight to the next budget, where it belongs and can be fought without that 1 trillion in collateral damage. Their real goal and concern is to reduce the size of government, and therefore, they actually prefer to take fights where they have a chance of inducing “total collapse”. They predict the total collapse of the system and will do whatever they can to see that prediction come through. They have this moroninc idea that if everything collapses then suddenly we will all be transferred back to 1776 and can sit down at a table and create a small gobinment world (I am not sure if they thing the rest of the world will do the same thing because muskets against ICBM’s is not really a survivable fight, but maybe they just don’t think).

  20. miamiocean says:

    We can not reduce military spending much due to the long-term (since WWII) assumption (true or not) that we require the military to protect U.S. access to oil, and whatever other limited resources that the government has identified as essential to its survival (not the same as “our”). You can not get around, past or ignore the fact that all developed nation economies are based on oil and its declining availability is just beginning to be felt. Would our economy be this slow to recover if oil was $30 a barrel ? I don’t know, just asking.

    The Chinese seem to have solved the immediate problem for themselves (with income from the U.S.) by buying their way into the oil resources they need for the future while we were busy making ourselves personae non gratae in the Middle East and beyond. We have thrown a large portion of our treasure in the military basket for the purposes of controlling resources (mostly oil) which has just royally pissed off people in other nations and makes the oil companies even richer. (Because the oil companies have PROMISED that they will make sure we don’t get cut off ever –if we protect their interests—- I have a bridge for sale)

    If this nation had listened to Jimmy Carter’s message about oil resource limits, instead of giggling at his lack of sophistication like little school children, we most probably would not be in as quite a big a pickle as we are now. The limits of resources which we previous had taken for granted has been and will be the largest driver of foreign and domestic policy moving forward.

  21. rktbrkr says:

    Miamiocean

    Whenever we start a Bush petro war in the mid east oil prices go UP not down. Ne need 11 nuke aircraft carriers to guarantee our supplies and everybody else (including China) gets a free ride? Thats why we’re going broke.

    No oil in Viet, Afgan or Korea. Oil production in Iraq since we liberated them whether they wanted it or not.

    The same forces that put numbskull Bush in the WH for 8 years have successfully sabotaged efforts to implement meaningful oil weaning.

    We have two new nukes under construction, where are those budget cuts???

  22. ami_in_deutschland says:

    Burma with its 8% spending of GDP is clearly machinehead’s Paradise (and just 3% tax burden of GDP!!!!) — if it weren’t for its tyrannical government, of course.

  23. OK Avenger says:

    Rising government spending as a percentage of GDP is completely reasonable if you belong to Club Wagner.

    http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/09/more-members-of-club-wagner/

    The idea that GDP minus government equals freedom is ridiculous. Put down the fife, musket, and tricorne hat and join us in the 21st Century.

  24. rktbrkr says:

    With the decommissioning of the USS Kitty Hawk in May 2009, the U.S. fleet comprises 11 supercarriers. The House Armed Services Seapower subcommittee on 24 July 2007, recommended seven or maybe eight new carriers (one every four years). However, the debate has deepened over budgeting for the $12–14.5 billion (plus $12 billion for development and research) for the 100,000 ton Gerald Ford-class carrier (estimated service 2015)

    absolutely fugging crazy

  25. miked11 says:

    This is federal spending NOT total government spending (including state and local).
    It is now over 40% of GDP–not 25% as the above says.
    See: http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/us_20th_century_chart.html

    ~~~

    BR: Chart was referring to Federal spending (which is R&R’s metric). I will clarify that above.

  26. louiswi says:

    rktbrkr: It gets better than “fugging crazy”. Try this out. The pentagon has reported to congress the new F-35 fighter jet will cost ONE TRILLION dollars to deploy and operate! Remember this is a fighter aircraft and is replacing the F-22 at 220 million dollars per single copy. Remember the last “dog fight” for a fighter was in the Korean War. Thus, we not only can’t afford this stuff, it’s value is totally questionable especially in light of drones, F-117 missiles etc etc. We cannot spend enough fast enough to satisfy the wishes of the pentagon. Note also under the Tea Party plan, no cuts for the pentagon.
    By the way, in case you didn’t notice, these fighters are primairily used to open NFL games particularly the Superbowl all at tax payer expense. This is okay with the “wing nuts” by the way.

  27. miamiocean says:

    Rktbrkr, I never meant to imply that I agreed with the military frame, but it does seem to be where we’ve been heading. It isn’t just GWB either, although I would dearly love to blame him for everything, We made our proverbial bed in the Middle East and hooked our forever future to oil a long, long time ago.

    Louiswi, It isn’t always the Pentagon pushing for dollars for military hardware of questionable need. Congress pushes regularly to keep the flow of money to defense contractors in their states despite some Pentagon reports that say they don’t need “X” anymore.

    As an aside, I am getting mighty tired of hearing the media and members of Congress refer to Social Security and Medicare as entitlements. They are insurance programs. I would be plenty ticked off if my home insurer didn’t pay my “entitlement” after years of my paying them a premium.

  28. farmera1 says:

    We spend approximately the same amount on the military as the rest of the world combined. Now that makes sense not. Why have Social Security, or Medicare or all of the other wastetful things when we can have the most expensive war making machine in the world.

    Remember when a man has a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail. When the PResident has a military that is equal to all other military’s in the world, there is a real temptation to use it.

  29. rktbrkr says:

    Miami,
    Exactly, Soc Sec was our decades of prepaid premiums and we are entitled to those monthly payments but somehow “entitlements” has a pejorative ring to it.

  30. rktbrkr says:

    (Koreyel)That’s actually a pretty profound insight. Which leads me to note that the graph/map is properly labeled. I may have to fix it. It should show the Korean war and the three current wars. Not just the Civil, and World Wars. Aren’t these modern wars just as costly?

    Korean and Vietnam were subsidized by draftee labor, IraqI &II and Afgan were fought by better paid volunteers and VERY highly paid mercenaries like Blackwater. We just kept borrowing and rolling the costs up into the debt total. Starting with Vietnam we started tapping into the Soc Sec free cash. Now that Soc Sec is net cash outflow the money is unavailable for entitlement leeches, we need new fighters and aircraft carriers more. Reneging on Social Security is true moral default by the government.

  31. MrDan242 says:

    miamiocean,
    They aren’t insurance programs.

    Insurance is supposed to have actuarial tables that indicate probability of event times cost of event discounted to a present value to determine a premium.
    When housing prices were shooting up, if you didn’t have the insurance company adjust your policy, you weren’t going to get paid market value on your house if it burned down, you would get the value you set your policy up for. Higher payout if event happens should equal higher premiums.

    On the SSA website, it looks like the deduction rate has been 6.2% (x2 when include employer) since 1990. I’m not an actuary, but I’m pretty sure the average lifespan has increased since 1990, not to mention the payout until recently getting a yearly COLA bump. So, to me, it looks like higher payouts, check. More probability of a longer payout, check. No adjustment to premiums, check. Insurance company going out of business, we’ll see?

    True insurance would probably mean “means testing” but then you get into setting up bad incentives like enticing people not to save or hide income / assets etc.

  32. Michael says:

    Barry, I’m surprised you published this chart as it shows the spike in government spending under Obama! :)

    ~~~

    BR: Data is data

  33. jmay says:

    The size of the national debt is a handy way to monetize the difference between the standard of living Americans expect and the standard of living they can actually afford. As the forces of globalization push our way of life to revert to the mean, you can bank on that handy-dandy number getting bigger.

  34. DeDude says:

    They are insurance programs even if they have been somewhat poorly administered (premiums should have been increased, but try getting that through congress). AIG is also still an insurance company despite its inability to price certain products correctly. The COLA bump is somewhat unusual but not and unheard off feature in retirement like insurance products such as annuities. It actually has a self regulating feature with the fact that salaries (and therefore SS premiums) go up with inflation. The longer lifespan has been somewhat adjusted for with the continued increase in the maximum wage for which SS premiums are no longer charged. Charging a specific subgroup for the fact that everybody will get more payouts in the end is an unusual thing – however that is part of the “poverty insurance” concept that those with higher income and good luck on health gets less of a return on their money.

  35. econimonium says:

    I actually spit out my Fresca (nectar of the Gods surely!) when I read machinehead’s comment. You know, we give you people way too much latitude when we air your opinions in public forums. In the 19th century, you’d just be called the nutjob that you are, since there was no political correctness then and no mass media so you’d be left to rave in a town square until you starved to death as you surely would because no one would go near you.

    The past, as you see it, didn’t exist and the present and the future are coming whether you like it or not. And sometimes you people just have to die for us to see progress (now where have I heard that before? Perhaps a famous scientist?). And for me, the old, angry, white people should really just get on with it and let the rest of us get back to what should be normal.

    I want to live in a first world country. I’m willing to pay for that, and more since I make more. Period. The debt limit theater is Kabuki for the dim-witted. But the 2012 elections are going to be a doozy as these bums find out this is NOT what people really wanted. It’s Newt all over again for people with short memories. And in case you haven’t noticed, the economy is slowing down since the government money has run its course. Kenynesian? You tell me. I agree it smells like 1937 all over again. We never learn. Except this time, maybe we’ll recognize the tea partiers as the new fascists. Which, of course, they are.

  36. sanfran_values says:

    Judging from the comments, I’m not sure if everyone understands that this chart shows spending as a percentage of GDP. This means that if the GDP falls (which it has), your spending as a percentage of GDP goes up — even if spending itself is flat. Of course, spending right now is not flat — but we just need to remember when reading this chart that only part of the spike here is due to spending.

  37. jmay says:

    Amen, econimonium. A-effing-men.

  38. miamiocean says:

    econimonium, I recently read a new term for the Tea Parties, Teajdists. Had a true ring to it.

  39. miamiocean says:

    Oops that was Teahadists — and I guess that nickname has been around a while.

  40. wally says:

    Any central government that plunders more than 10% of GDP is inherently tyrannical.

    First, let’s set aside the word ‘plunders’, which is a bait word that implies that government gives you no return for what you pay – which is arguably false, even to a first-grader.

    Second, I can name a LOT of governments that charge far, far more for their services than does the US, and people in those countries are quite satisfied with the way things are run… and not a single one of those governments is a tyranny. In fact, one of the most aggressive and military-minded countries in the world today is a fairly low tax country. (Guess which one. Hint: you live in it).

  41. chris says:

    NotQuiteSo Says you are good.

  42. victor says:

    @NotQuiteSo: the immigrants who came to America in the 19th century and before didn’t see it the way you describe it: “filth in a tenement”, etc. They worked hard, had babies, many babies (not like today) went West and built a better life for themselves. They had left behind in the “old country” oppressive Governments, religious and national persecution and found America to be the promised land. Only later, much later a big federal government emerged and we see its ills now. Granted, we do take for granted (no pun here) all the goodies we do get from it, but after all we (well, 49% of us actually) do pay for them via the federal tax that we all want to go up, but not ours thank you very much.

    @DeDude: OK, you got your dragon to sleigh, those bad Tea Party types: white, seniors, mostly men (almost all veterans of wars). Madame Pelosi called them Nazi’s and you seem to know them so well, perhaps from Keith Olbermann or Chris Mathews monologues? Who’s next? The corporations? It occurs to me that by far the biggest corporation is the Government: a poor servant and a terrible master, don’t you agree?

  43. crankitto11 says:

    One of Krugman’s blog pieces from yesterday actually crunches some real numbers and puts this all in perspective: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/29/the-truth-about-federal-spending/

    In short, of the approximate 4% rise in federal expenditures v. GDP from FY 2007 to FY 2010 (from 19.6% to 23.8%), about 30% is due to a decrease in GDP, about 50% is due to the automatic kick-in of safety net programs during a recession/depression (food stamps, UI, Medicaid), and the rest is your “stimulus”– which consisted mainly of one shot support to state and local government to replace a sharp drop-off in tax revenue and maintain (not expand) existing programs/jobs, and is almost about to expire.

    Sorry, Teahadists, no evidence of Kenyan socialism here.

    But as Krugman wrote, “Now, pointing out the Obama spending binge is a myth generally produces rage: people know that it happened, because Rush Limbaugh and the Wall Street Journal say so. But that doesn’t make it true.”

  44. rktbrkr says:

    MrDan242,
    They are insurance programs
    You picked a bad example with home insurance because you can get replacement cost insurance and most of the home price increases were due to increases in the land value, the structure depreciates but the land appreciates (normally) – but thats an aside.

    SocSec is an insurance program but with imperfect actuarial calculations. Since women live considerably longer than men they should pay higher premiums or receive smaller monthly payouts, thats the data.

    If there’s a problem funding SocSec how come the SocSec tax has been reduced and how come the cap hasn’t been raised?

    Actually with the nation’s obesity epidemic the projected underfunding of SocSec may self correct with enough chips and cheesey puffs.

  45. blackjaquekerouac says:

    as you can see Federal Spending did moderate after that “Civil War thingy.” I imagine there was a lot of Dolly Madison’esque “flag knitting” going on at that time as well.

  46. DeDude says:

    @Victor;

    If we the people’s government is “a poor servant and a terrible master” (and I see lots of room for improvement) then it is because we people are terrible shareholders of “we the people’s” government. Because as shareholders all the people get to vote on management. In contrast the big corporation, who are conducting a hostile takeover of “we the people’s” government, are owned only by the rich and they are the only ones who get to vote on corporate management. In light of recent events it is astonishing if anybody would consider the corporations better servant’s or master’s of the people’s interest’s than even our dysfunctional government. Not surprising though since that is how it played out in Europe in the 30′ies, and some say that we are repeating all the errors of that period.

  47. DeDude says:

    @rktbrbr;

    I agree and social security is rock solid for the next 25 years (a way longer period than anybody has ever made accurate predictions). A good solid swine- or bird-flue epidemic in the next 25 years would solve any predicted problems, even if we did not make any changes at all. And we are way over-due for a severe pandemic. The current panic about SS is constructed because we are getting to the point where we either increase the size of government (to pay back people’s SS money as they retire) or cut the military.

  48. rktbrkr says:

    The military is paying up to $90K enlistment bonuses in spite of record waiting list. God knows what the Black Water types are getting.

    http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/tag/delayed-entry-pool

    http://www.military.com/recruiting/bonus-center/news/scoop-on-army-enlistment-bonuses

  49. Greg0658 says:

    victor I was following your 19th century history lesson .. then you went dark on government .. many of its programs were initiated as assistance against a bigger foe – yes some payolla schemes grew from uncleSugars account .. thats where DeDude picks up the antigov false flag meme for me

    rktbrkr “actuarial calculations” does the world / Must the world – continue down this “actuarial calculations” path
    REALLY cant we design another system already .. financial instrument Short insurance and a strategically placed device – and your precious system in the 21st century :-|

  50. Greg0658 says:

    and ps – government spending kicks back into the economy .. the recycle effect is real .. and yes can be circumvented .. like burnt up providing foreign police actions .. but I contend the lobbiest are getting everything they wish / are you / doesn’t seem so

  51. rktbrkr says:

    Empires exhaust blood and treasure trying to maintain far flung empires.

    This is just a thumbnail sketch. I’d add the French Empire where France was bled white trying to maintain it’s European empire – back when there was no alternative to boots on the ground! No drones or cruise missiles to do the dirty work.

    http://www.roman-empire-america-now.com/imperialism.html

  52. [...] media climate, opened its doors on the strife, division and battling that goes into shaping the single largest component of the GDP, well, the ratings agencies would respectfully request that democracy get its PowerPoint slides in [...]