Government Spending

"We've got a huge spending problem"


Over at PJTV, Glenn Instapundit Reynolds interviews Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) about debts, deficit, and spending. Corker's basic plan is to cap spending at between 18 percent and 20 percent of GDP as a rule, as opposed to the 25 percent of the current moment and the 20.3 percent average over the past 50 years.

Click above to watch. About 16 minutes and well worth watching.

This is a basic framework that I think is useful to discuss the problem, though it's also worth pointing out that the difference in spending 18 percent of GDP versus 20 percent is huge in terms of running up debt over the years. But good luck raising revenue over 18 percent for any lengthy period of time. The overall target should be below 18 percent on a moving basis, but it also needs to systematically work through what we spend money on and restructure priorities in a fundamentally different based around what things government should provide. There's no reason that the feds should spend 18 percent of the economy because they can on average squeeze that from taxpayers. Indeed, pegging spending to set percentages rather than fixed dollar amounts can lead to massive overspending.

Two-second reality check: Yes, Corker voted for TARP. And when asked by the Wash Post if he would join a "Tea Party" caucus in the Senate devoted to reducing spending, he replied, "I don't know about that…. I'm not sure I should be participating in this story."