Politics

Economy Goes Down, Spending Goes Up. Economy Goes Up, Spending Goes Up.

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The WSJ chart next door lays out spending increases over the last two years. About the only increase that makes sense is the one on unemployment benefits, seeing as the economy has been in the crapper for so long (yes, I know there's a serious argument – or at least one made by Larry Summers – that extending and re-extending unemployment benefits keeps people from going back into the labor force).

What more do you need to know about why we're stuck with huge deficits? Well, maybe this: These increases are barely out of line with previous years in the 21st century.

The Journal writes:

The costs of TARP declined by $262 billion from 2009 as banks repaid their bailout cash, payments to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were $51 billion lower (though still a $40 billion net loser for the taxpayer), and deposit insurance payments fell by $55 billion year over year. "Excluding those three programs, spending rose by about 9 percent in 2010, somewhat faster than in recent years," CBO says.

Somewhat faster. You've got to laugh, or cry, when a 9% annual increase qualifies as only "somewhat faster" than normal.

What did Washington spend more money on? Well, despite two wars, defense spending rose by 4.7% to $667 billion, down from an annual average increase of 8% from 2005 to 2009.

More here.