Saturday, August 20, 2011

News Flash: Rain Is Wet

I see Republicans -- most recently mega-billionaire Charles G. Koch -- are still pushing the meme that Government spending has been increasing at a "massive" and "uncontrolled" rate.

You have to love Republicans. They find one thing which, if looked at correctly -- that is to say, if you squint real hard and ignore everything around it -- could be loosely construed as true. Or not false, at any rate.

  • Government spending has increased
Yes, it has. Except when it hasn't. Are we talking about 2010 versus 2009? It went down. Are we talking about the projected expense for 2011 over 2010? It is scheduled to go up.

  • Government spending as a percentage of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) has gone up
Yes it has, and this is my favorite one. This is like saying "household expenditures, as a percentage of houshold income, go up during a heat wave." or "bleeding increases when one's arm is cut off." Yes, it's true, but so what? Let's rephrase that to be a true and meaningful statement:

  • There is less money coming into the government, thanks to the Great Recession
  • The government is spending more money on "safety net" programs because of the Great Recession
  • Less money in + more money out = spending, as a percentage of GDP, goes up.
Guess what? If the recession ends, if unemployment drops, a lot more money flows into the government. Spending, as a percentage of GDP, will go down. And guess who keeps trying to prevent that from happening?

Twelve bonus points if you say "Republicans!"

Oh, and I forgot: Did you know that your burn more calories walking uphill than you do downhill?