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Tax, Spend, & Milton Friedman:

Paul Caron has a chart on the increase in federal tax revenues since the 2003 Tax Act. The Angry Bear has an informative chart on the growth in federal spending for the past several decades (defense and health care are the largest categories of spending increases, although other discretionary spending areas are up a bit too over Clinton). And Milton Friedman is "disgusted" by the increase in spending.

Medis:
"Up a bit"?

It looks like "NDNHS discretionary spending" has risen from about 3.2% of GDP to 3.5%, and "Other" has risen from 2.1% of GDP to 2.5% (which would be more in relative terms than the Medicare and Medicaid spending increase, I believe, since that went from about 3.5% to 4.2%). Those are pretty dramatic increases particularly in light of the fact that measuring this in terms of GDP is just about the most minimizing way to do it (in inflation-adjusted terms it would be higher, and of course in gross terms it would be much, much higher).

The bottom line is that unless you want the government to be taking over more and more of the economy over time, it's growth in spending has to be no more than GDP growth, and any increases in terms of percentage of GDP represent a government growing faster than the economy. So, in each and every way the federal government has been getting bigger and bigger under Bush.

No wonder Friedman finds this all "disgusting".
12.9.2005 8:52am
Jim Caserta (www):
Why don't you reference angry bear's look at The Budgetary Effects of the Bush Tax Cuts. It contradicts Caron, or at least the notion that rising tax rolls is due in any appreciable way to the tax cuts.
12.9.2005 11:32am
Anonymous Jim (mail):
At least Prof. Z, did not say the increased revenue was "caused by" (or anything of the sort) by the tax cuts.
12.9.2005 9:43pm
David Gaw (mail) (www):
The chart is indeed interesting, but... I'm not sure I agree with the suggestion that keeping pace with GDP equates to non-growth. GDP has increased more than 1100% since 1970. Why should I automatically assume government ought to scale proportionately to GDP, or consider spending that keeps up with it constant? It looks like a ten-fold increase to me. If you're going to index to something (other than just inflation) and call that constant, why not population? US population has only increased about 40% since 1970, meaning spending in each area has still increased more than the chart suggests.
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