Government Spending

Reason Writers Around Town: Doherty vs. Henwood on Federal Debt

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In round two of their Los Angeles Times dust-up, reason's Brian Doherty and the Left Business Observer's Doug Henwood debate the significance and dangers of our burgeoning (daily) federal debt. Read it here.

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  1. Nice job Brian.

    I’m not convinced that proportion of GDP is the best way of measuring the scope and pervasiveness of government. Surely there are some activities that do not need to be scaled up at the same rate as population.

    Also, I may have missed it, but I don’t believe state and local government were discussed. I wonder what the numbers look like taking them into account.

    Finally, just what is “child care?” I’m not a parent, so am fuzzy on what it is he wants to take part of my labor for.

  2. Child care. You know, like people taking care of your kid while you work. In places like France, the gov pays for it. My kid will be supporting you in retirement, even if you think you’re financing it out of your savings. Because your future savings mean nothing if there are no actual living workers making stuff.

  3. voxpo,

    I believe that the data would show that government takes up roughly 53 cents on every dollar earned.

  4. Life would be a lot more civilized in this country if we took all that $600 billion we saved by winding down the Pentagon and spent it on things like making child care and higher education free to all.

    Oh Jesus H Christ wrapped in a shroud. We are so fucking fucked

    doom
    DoooM
    DOOOOM

  5. When is calling something “free”, a lie?

  6. I believe that the data would show that government takes up roughly 53 cents on every dollar earned.

    this website states that in FY2007 (the most recent year they have full data) says that combined fed, state, and local revenue is $4.78 trillion dollars. The BEA states that total personal income is currently around 12 trillion. So even if you lowball it for 07 at 11 trillion, you’d get about 41-43% of every dollar earned is collected in taxes. However, the spending is anywhere from 200 billion to as much as 1 trillion dollars more.

  7. Kolohe — spending is ultimately what matters, not the official taxation level, since all that spending will eventually be paid for, one way or the other. The official government statistics, not surprisingly, do not account for the assets confiscated via inflation, which is perhaps the most subtle, or at least most unrecognized, form of taxation levied. Throw in inflation, and the myriad other little levies not accounted for in the government figures, and the spending versus the reported personal income should exceed 50%.

  8. Sort of on topic: apparently the car companies are banks!

  9. Kolohe,

    Prolefeed is correct. Though the professor I had made us use a different formula for a full exam grade.

  10. for a full exam grade.

    Bah! You can get pretty far in life on partial credit.

  11. Child care. You know, like people taking care of your kid while you work. In places like France, the gov pays for it. My kid will be supporting you in retirement, even if you think you’re financing it out of your savings. Because your future savings mean nothing if there are no actual living workers making stuff.

    Mercy, that was an incoherent chain of thought.

  12. Kolohe,

    If you’re thinking of starting a Kolohe scheme I’m sorry to report that a guy named Ponzi already came up with it. Though you could probably still make his business model work.

  13. In places like France, the gov pays for it.

    What’s your next guess, you blithering pinko?

    The government doesn’t pay for services, whether in France or anywhere. The government is an unproductive entity. The people of France pay for day care, and all the other things that the French government likes to take credit for.

    -jcr

  14. Mercy, that was an incoherent chain of thought.

    Yes, it’s a sad example of the pervasive mind rot that got us into this mess.

    -jcr

  15. Child care. You know, like people taking care of your kid while you work. In places like France, the gov people who have never met your kid pays for it.

    My kid will be supporting you in retirement, even if you think you’re financing it out of your savings.

    By the time I retire, there won’t be any Soc Sec for the likes of me, I can assure you, so (except for health care), I will be financing it out of my savings.

    Because your future savings mean nothing if there are no actual living workers making stuff.

    Because your kid will die if he doesn’t get state child care.

  16. Henwood is such a poon.

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