Government Spending

We're So Screwed


Here's a nifty chart that would have worked well as an illustration to Peter Suderman's excellent Newsweek piece on Rep. Paul Ryan's "road map" to fiscal sanity, and how the Republicans are treating it with 10-foot tongs: Reason Contributing Editor and certified chart-addict Veronique de Rugy, showing us the Ghost of Fiscalmas Future:

What will we tell our grandchildren about the '90s?

Pretty colors, anyway.

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  1. doom

    1. terror

  2. Not me, suckers! I’m going to take all my money and buy one or two shares of Berkshire Hathaway! Ha ha ha ha!

    1. They voted to split the shares, so that Berkshire Hathaway could be placed in the S&P500; (after the BNSF acquisition). Hopefully you have more money than one or two shares worth now.

      1. I hate you for crushing my dreams, John.

      2. They only split the B shares.

  3. No, no, that’s “We’re SO Screwed.”

  4. Thank GOd! I thought we were in trouble but now I see that we are just at the edge of a precipitous drop in govt spending and deficit creation.

    Talk about just in the nick of time..

  5. Methinks that chart is actually quite optimistic. Namely, it assumes that dramatic spike for this year’s spending will magically return back to 1998 levels and cease spiking before it resumes a gradual climb.

    Fat chance.

    1. sharp as a knife, Hazel.

    2. I think that the optimism is mostly in assuming that since the recession is so bad now, it’s going to have an awesome snap back to the previous trend line of growth.

    3. Indeed. That spike is the fiscal version of “I’ll start cutting back by 1000 calories a day next week, and after six months I’ll have lost 50 lbs!”

    4. Another thing: Where is the “inerest on public debt” expense slice? (Should be red, or at least grey.)

    5. Wasn’t the spike TARP and the stimulus bill? I doubt there will be annual $700B outlays on one program.

      1. Have you noticed that this year’s proposed budget deficit is even bigget than last years?

        Anyway, TARP has mostly been paid back. Exacept the government decided to spend it anyway. I forget what for.

      2. How much are they spending on a monthly basis now to keep unemployment checks flowing? I imagine that’s a teensie bit of that spending…

  6. So, once we get that “public option”, that would sit right on top of the Medicare and Medicaid section, right? Any votes on what color that should be? I think next in line would be yellow.

    1. The brownish-yellow of urine from failing kidneys.

      1. Make that asploding kidneys.

  7. Things will have to get a lot worse than they are before we fix it–Greece is a great example. If it isn’t politically feasible, then there’s no reason to fix it. …not even if it’s destroying your economy.

    “Politically feasible” means publicly acceptable, by the way… Thank God for what some people call stupid rednecks and their stupid insistence on common sense. ….on certain things. …sometimes. …just sometimes.

    1. Yes. Thank god our deranged rubes are on the side of less spending, not more.

      I’ll take them over greece’s retarded general public any day.

  8. The graph should be titled “Medicare/Medicaid Explodes,” as it’s pretty obvious what is driving the “explosion.”

    1. The only solution is to hunt down and kill those too infirm or senile to hide from anyone wearing deer-hunter orange. Budget problems solved.

  9. I would like to see the chart against something like population or productivity.

    Maybe there’s hope?

    1. It’s as a percentage of GDP. That’s something like productivity or population already.

      Up to around 2030 it’s demographic change. Beyond that it’s eventually medicine cost increases.

    2. Productivity could be key. Unfortunately the same forces driving this “explosion” are working hard every day to limit productivity. (Ironic, eh?)

  10. And the singularity, Warren. What about the singularity!

    1. I can’t keep track of all the things people mean by “the singularity”. Right now it looks like civilization will implode and our cities will burn before our technology becomes self aware.

      1. The singularity is here. Haven’t you been following anon-bot?

  11. I wonder what overestimated level of GDP growth is projected in the next 10 years on that chart. I also wonder what underestimated level of interest rate is assumed too.

    I keep thinking the real reason the government wants needs to take over healthcare is to cannibalize that one sixth of the economy for its own unsustainable fiscal needs.

    1. It’s even worse when you take into account that the official GDP figure today is a somewhat bogus number based on silly Keynesian assumptions that have been disproven for years, but the elites still insist on believing as fact.

      Greece in America is closer than almost everyone realizes. Our debt-to-GDP percentage is currently growing at about 10% a year. It’s going to be well over 90% at the end of this year, and well over 100% at the end of 2011. At the end of last year, Greece was at about 113%.

      There’s a reason why senator Judd Gregg just said the other day that we’re about five to seven years away from total economic meltdown in America, and he’s not some wild-eyed loon. When was the last time you heard someone this high up in our government say something like this before? The answer is never.

    2. You hit the nail on the head there, PR.

      What do major bankruptcies of non-financial firms — like Enron, Global Crossing, WorldCom, Sunbeam, and Tyco — usually have in common? They go on wild acquisition sprees to cover up the disasterous condition of their cash flows and balance sheets. Off balance sheet liabilities are popular as well.

      As long as markets continue to believe the firm is viable, acquisitions give excellent cover for deteriorating financial performance by creating an opportunity to classify expenses as “investments”. At the same time, the acquirer also sucks the cash out of the acquired company.

      Governments can get away with their deception for much longer than corporations, however, since they can “print” money, which is much better than issuing newly printed common stock share certificates. It takes longer for markets to realize that a government’s money is worthless than it does to realize that a bankrupt company’s stock is worthless.

      Like corrupt CEOs of companies, our politicians hope to be retired before the suckers catch on.

  12. The solution is quite simple. We merely need to cure aging, which will give us tie to perfect autonomous robot worker technology and a cheap, unlimited energy source.

    Oh yeah, we’re screwed.

    1. make that “time to perfect…”

    2. Curing aging really is about the best thing we could do, both to avoid fiscal disaster and greatly increase quality of life. I donate to SENS and the Methuselah Foundation and hope that they’ll become more mainstream. It’s a long shot, but it might be the only one we have.

      1. I hate to rain on your parade, but curing aging would have a rather disastrous effect on future Social Security and Medicare outlay projections….

  13. All that graph needs is more Death Panel.

  14. Show of hands:

    Who believes that spending is going to spike this year, and drop off precipitously next year and the year after?

    1. I do! I do!

    2. Alternatively, who believes that the depth of the financial crisis means that GDP is going to rebound to the earlier trendline instead of being permanently shifted down?

    3. You think there’s going to be another TARP and stimulus bill? Remember because of the off timing of the government fiscal calendar, they both hit on the exact same year.

  15. That’s just federal. What about states and their unfunded pensions and constantly increasing spending, etc?

  16. the cost of the debt as a percentage of gross domestic product will explode from a mere 1.8 percent of GDP in 2012 to more than 30 percent of GDP in 2082.

    Help me on my math but if the debt in 2012 is project to be about 70% of GDP and it only costs 1.8% of GDP to maintain it is the Treasury actually finding people and institutions who will loan it money at 2.6%? Given the less-than-stellar ratings I would give U.S. notes I would want a lot more for my money, especially given the incredible incentive debtor nations have to inflate their currency.

    1. The conspiracy nuts say the Federal Reserve is now buying a large percentage of the bond Auctions, they also used to talk about “mysterious”(government controlled) Caribbean entities buying more bonds. They do own the printing press so how hard would it be to disguise the buying through Goldman Sachs or some other politically connected entity? So that is their explanation for why the fed can finance it’s debt at such low rates.

      However, all true Americans understand that the savings glut around the world results in a atmosphere where people will always flock to the safest, best risk free return you can find and that is an investment in America. What the government is really selling when it sells bonds is a promise that it will confiscate American tax payer dollars in whatever amounts are necessary.

      You’ve been sold into tax slavery bitches!!! Now go to a airport and show me your wifes tits!

  17. The president is making another profoundly dishonest speech before an invited, cheering White House crowd, including more of those white-coated doctor-props. He is equating (government) bureaucrats with insurance company “bureaucrats.” Government rationing with insurance company “rationing.” The man does not know the difference between public and private.

    1. The man does not know the difference between public and private.

      Or he finds it useful to blur that distinction.


  18. Holy shit.

  19. Is the color of the top band on that graph “soylent green”?

    1. It will be, yes, it will be.

    2. I’ve heard of “well aged” meat, but 65 years + is carrying that a little too far.

      1. I once had year-aged carpaccio. Delicious.

  20. At least, after everything else goes to shit, our leaders will still have a well funded military to fall back on.

    1. Yes, 15 aircraft carrier battle groups and large numbers of stealth bombers will be a great help with suppressing riots.

      1. See what happens when we send a stealth bomber to your suburb. Think we won’t do it? Operation Northwoods bitches!!

        1. The Ron Paul fan club is that way –>

  21. Let’s look at the bright side. Liberals have set into motion a version of “starve the beast” where entitlements squeeze everything else.

  22. Its just a chart they will spend way more anyway I,m thinking our GOVERNMENT SUCKS and SUCKING us dry out of touch assholes. need to be brought down.




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