October 16, 2006

Sorry, Peter Beinart (and US Taxpayers): Federal Spending HAS Exploded

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:56 am

Amy Ridenour has an important post reaching the unfortunate conclusion that an October pre-election meme being floated by the New Republic’s Peter Beinart (TNR link requires registration) isn’t true.
Beinart claims that the Bush Administration has been chintzy when it comes to “discretionary spending” that isn’t related to homeland security. That is, he’s trying to bring through the back door the always-bogus “balancing the budget (or reducing the deficit) on the backs of the poor” argument. Beinart even says that non-homeland security-related spending has gone down as a percentage of GDP.

It would be nice if spending were being controlled a bit, but it’s not. Notes Amy:

I was able to calculate the increase in what Congress actually spent from 2001-2005 (final numbers on outlays for 2006 are not yet available). When controlling for both inflation and population, the increase was about 13%, not 2%. Nor did it decline as a percentage of GDP. Indeed, it rose from 3.1% in 2001 to 3.6% in 2005.

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