Government Spending

When's the Last Time the Feds Spent Just 18% of GDP? Hint: You Don't Have to Go Back to 1966

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In pooh-poohing the idea of "Cut, Cap, and Balance,"—a GOP plan to reduce spending, freeze it in place as a percentage of GDP or economic activity, and eventually bring revenue and spending into concordance, the Washington Post's Ezra Klein writes,

The Republicans' cut-cap-and-balance plan — perhaps better know to readers of this blog as The Worst Idea in Washington — will get a vote this week. The proposal would, among other things, cap federal spending at 18 percent of the previous year's gross domestic product. The last time we were anywhere near there wasn't during George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan. It was in 1966.

Klein helpfully includes a Center for American graphic comparing '66 and today across various measures. But the main point of Klein and CAP is wrong in at least two ways.

First, as Peter Suderman pointed out here yesterday, the craptacular cut, cap, and balance bill currently being debated would exempt interest on the debt, Medicare, Social Security, War on Terror spending, veteran's health care benefits, and virtually everything else in the budget. And even on the stuff that's actually still affected, "spending would be limited to 21.7 percent of GDP in 2013 and ratcheted down to 19.9 percent of total economic output by 2019."

So Klein and CAP are barking up the wrong tree when they talk about the calamity that would befall the country if we were to squeeze down government spending from around its current 25 percent of GDP to 18 percent (a different proposal put forth by actual fiscal hawks, and the balanced budget amendment pushed by Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky, talk a real 18 percent cap, but that's not what's in play).

Second, and even more annoying given that CAP is headed by John Podesta, who served in Bill Clinton's administration, is the oversight that Bill Clinton's final budget spent just 18.2 percent of GDP. So it's not a question of "going back to the '60s." If you want to hit 18 percent—which just happens to be the average amount of revenue raised as a percentage of GDP since 1950— you've got to go all the way back to 2000 and 2001 (see table 1.2, page 25). Jeezus H. Christ, that's not really hard to find, is it? And by the way, over Clinton's last five budgets, outlays averaged a measly 18.5 percent of GDP. If you don't think 18.5 percent counts as "anywhere near" 18 percent, certainly 18.2 percent qualifies. 

And suck on this: During the absolutely great end of the last century, during the best five-year pull the federal government has seen, total revenue averaged 19.8 percent of GDP. To call that the best-case scenario is a realistic appraisal of the government's ability to squeeze coin out of its vassals. You'll note that that average is a hair lower than what the GOP's weakling cut, cap, and balance bill offers.

How's that shitty old Stealer's Wheel song go? You know, the one about "clowns to the left of me" and "jokers to the right"? Screw the turtles. When it comes to budget debates, it's delusions all the way down.

If folks are interested in balancing the budget or even slowing the rate of growth of spending or debt, the starting point of the conversation should be easily agreed-upon statistics (some of which are related above). Another addition to this is the simple fact that it has proven enormously difficult for the feds to move revenue upwards as a percentage of GDP. Many have tried—and many have tried to lessen it, too—and most have failed to budge it from the 18 percent average, especially over any amount of time. Any budget plan that assumes 20 percent or more of GDP as a revenue stream is a crock. Yet President Obama's proposed 2011 budget expects to be spending far more than that in every year over the next decade. And even Paul Ryan's GOP plan spends an average of 20.5 percent annually over the next decade. Good luck reducing the debt, fellas.

That's not to say that total revenues can't be increased over the historical average can't be done, but the onus is on the increasers both to show how they are going to do so for more than a couple of years and, as important, that increasing revenues won't simply lead to more spending. The one thing we can control in the here and now is spending, which was increased massively during the Bush and Obama years.

Between 2001 and 2010, real spending increased by 71 percent (defense), 75 percent (Medicare, Medicaid), 56 percent (non-defense discretionary), and 38 percent (Social Security). That's after inflation has been factored in. That's sort of increase is way ahead of revenue and even demonstrated need in every category. That sort of across-the-board increase is why the feds are borrowing somewhere north of 40 cents of every dollar it's currently spending. There's no way we can hope to pay for it, period.

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  1. The increased spending on healthcare, prescription drugs and education is pathetic.

    1. Maybe, but look at the great improvement in educational outcomes we got as a result.

    2. I think the increased spending on healthcare and drugs is a great thing. It means we’ve got more disposable that we can spend solving more difficult problems. I mean, coronary artery bypass surgery is hella expensive, but I’m glad its now an option.

      1. It also means we’ve come up with ways to sell treatments for things that people used to just have to tough it out with. That’s a good thing.

        1. … so that people can become overweight or obese and then get heart disease and/or become diabetic and cost Medicare hundreds of thousands of dollars.

          The only real improvement has been from people smoking a lot less than they used to.

        2. It also means that instead of dying of a heart attack or stroke in say their 60s or 70s people are living into their 80s and 90s and dying of stuff like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s which take lots of $$$ to treat.

    3. Yea, we should go back to iron lungs, much cheaper.

      1. Pretty sure you can vaccinate a whole school for the price of an iron lung.

      2. Hey, I need a fucking break now and then.

  2. hey i know! How bout we reduce the goverment to do only what the const says it should. then we sell all of our useless forward operating bases, bring home all troops, to defend our land, not iraqs etc. downgrade most troops to reserve, and call up as needed for disaters and any actual real, not imagind attack on our shores. after that, we dismantle all regultory agencies, and let the people and the stated live free, protected by the federal goverment, its main task, and a small agency to see that trade is fair among states. that should pay off the debt in 30 yrs or so and shrink spending to what 5-10% of gdp.

  3. Holy shit. Women make up almost 60% of the civilian labor force?! And no draft in 2010? Fewer men in college, fewer men in the work force… That must mean we’ve achieved welfare majority! Fuck yeah!

    1. No, it means 58% of women are in the workforce. Not that 58% of workforce is women.

      1. Ah. That makes waay more sense. I suck at reading pictograms.

      2. So 40% of women don’t have jobs? Maybe if all those lazy goldbricking women would get fucking jobs we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. (sorry)

        1. Everyone knows that 42% of women are racists who just want to unelect a black president.

  4. How the hell is “USD GDP Relative to China GDP” a relevant statistic?

    1. NONE of that information is relevant. The implied premise of that chart is that government spending has produced prosperity, and that cutting back on that spending will make us as poor as we were in the 60s. Which is bullshit.

      1. It looks like its produced inflation to me. Minimum wage is worth less, goods and services cost more. Social spending is up and results are mixed at best.

        1. Everything’s in 2010 dollars.

          The minimum wage in 1966 was about $1.80 which even more starkly shows the effects of inflation.

          While the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation, I’m fairly sure that more people earned at or close to the minimum wage in 1966 than do now.

          1. Yeah. I remember a guy telling me that he could earn $100/week in the mid 60s, have a house and a car payment and 2 kids and live on the high side of middle class.

        2. It’s a great chart for LOOK HOW FUCKING EXPENSIVE WE’VE MADE EVERYTHING.

          No need to thank us,

          The Gubmint

      2. Some of the numbers actually discredit their “we need more money!!!” argument. Spending per pupil tripled with no change in test scores.

        1. WE SPENT TOO LITTLE!

        2. Value is irrelevant. Money spent = GDP.

        3. Yes but he left out that little bit of inconvenience, for some reason…

        4. Since they’re giving the figures “in 2010 dollars,” they’re allegedly inflation adjusted. Which means the Social Security payments and educations spending are both way out of whack.

          1. Not only that, but look at the healthcare and prescription drug numbers. Is anyone going to claim that there is LESS federal involvement in those fields than in 1966?

          2. 1966 = pre-integration and pre-NCLB.

            A triple is possible.

            1. What? When was Eisenhower president?

          3. In 1966 the official line was still that SS was a supplement to private saving for retirement.

            It wasn’t until the mid 70s that the first generation that had had FICA withheld their whole working lives retired. Then suddenly there appeared a whole cohort who were utterly dependent on SS as a sole means of income and were allegedly surviving by eating cat food. The intense media coverage of this brought about a boost in benefits plus the introduction of COLAs which in turn led to FICA increases about ten years later when it was discovered that SS was untenable at the current collection rates.

      3. Let me be clear. The vast improvement in our quality of life over the past 60 years is because of Government intervention, not despite it.

        1. Truth to Powr !

      4. The irony is that it kind of reminds everyone of how the Democrats are constantly lauding the 60s as the era of big government produced bounty. When mem were men, unions made cars, and the middle class could afford homes.

      5. I think the premise is this: it costs more for government to provide things like education, health care and such today because education, health care and such cost more.

        1. I think the premise is this: it costs more for government to provide things like education, health care and such today because we spend more on education, health care and such.

    2. The same way “I’m a Believer” and “Tik Tok” are.

      1. If more government spending brought about Tik Tok, I think anarchy is the way to go.

    3. It shows how close we are to falling behind China, if you begin at the start of the Cultural Revolution during China’s policy of actively destroying any economic activity they had in the name of Marxism.

  5. I’d say the pop music is a draw.

    1. Up yours.

      1. I see what you did there.

  6. The pols will paper over this problem long enough to get through the next election cycle – or at least that’s what they’ll believe. The bond market will be the final arbiter.

    1. I like the way you mix 1s with !s. It’s funny and also edgy.

      1. Old memes echo down through history for those who dare listen.

        1. If I have trolled far, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of great memes.

    2. BRING IT!!!!
      I welcome it. I dont use welfare, public schools, have kids, so other than an army defending my way of life (which the goverment is suposed to do) i dont need em, the feds can go the way of the dodo. i live in a subdivision, but as a horticulturist, i can grow my own food, have a boat to fish with and a gun to hunt with, bring on the shutdown and austerity. lets get back to common sense.

      1. but ROADZZZZ

        1. After the econo-pocalypse, roads are for suckers to get ambushed.

    3. Hey, what are we, chopped dim sum??

    4. What a waste of money:

      Hennepin Theatre Trust
      Minneapolis, MN
      $200,000
      To support a planning process for the revitalization of Hennepin Avenue as a cultural corridor. The project will engage neighborhood groups, arts organizations, institutions and the business community to develop a plan for Hennepin Avenue that will map cultural assets, propose arts uses for underdeveloped spaces, and foster economic vitality.

      1. And the worst part is… 200K is a drop in the bucket if they do decide to go through with the project.

        Imagine what you could do with 200K. Now imagine all that potential going to pay for a report no one needs and a PowerPoint everyone will sleep through in order to rubber stamp a project that some local pol that owns property on Hennepin Ave (or is paid off by someone that does) can rip off taxpayers in a scheme that is already well-under way.

        1. 200k is a drop in the bucket, but the actual execution of the plan will probably be in the tens of millions. Government drops grow quickly.

        2. Well said, SF.

          Not to put too fine a point on it, now “imagine” millions of such projects.

      2. This is so LOL. $200K for a bunch of people to sit around and bullshit. It doesn’t even pay for any of the actual development.

  7. Oh, and even using whatever twisted statistics they’ve drawn up, the PERCENTAGE of people in poverty is less than in 1966.

    1. Of course it is but that would be detrimental to thier meme.

    1. Nobody cares.

    2. The Pixies is one of those bands that I cannot understand why people love them so much. Same goes for Radiohead.

  8. Fundamental economic principles were so different in 1966 than they are now, not to mention fashions and hairstyles. And don’t even get me started on the music.

  9. What’s the deal with the minimum wage?

    1. Never mind all figures are in 2010 dollars. I missed that part

    2. Does anyone working for the feds actually get paid minimum wage? My understanding is that their wages are actually some multiple of the minimum wage.

      1. They will when URKOBOLD finally takes over.

        1. THIS IS ALMOST CORRECT. THE URKOBOLD WILL DISPENSE WITH THE MINIMUM WAGE FOR THE GENERAL POPULATION BUT WILL CREATE A SPECIAL MINIMUM WAGE FOR FEDERAL BUREAUCRATS AND POLITICAL OFFICEHOLDERS: FIVE DOLLARS PER HOUR, ADJUSTED ANNUALLY FOR INFLATION. ADJUSTED DOWNWARDS BY THE INFLATION RATE FOR THE PREVIOUS YEAR, THAT IS.

          THERE WILL ALSO BE A MAXIMUM WAGE FOR THESE SAME EMPLOYEES OF $10.00/HOUR.

          1. I demand a minimum bouncy wage!

            We can’t risk a mammary gap!

            1. THE URKOBOLD’S REVOLUTIONARY CURRENCY WILL INCLUDE VIDEO ANIMATIONS, RENDERED IN ELECTRONIC INK, OF VARIOUS BOUNCY AMERICANS TO DETER COUNTERFEITING. LIKE THIS BOUNCY AMERICAN.

              1. She’ll look fantastic on the $1,000,000,000 bill.

                1. FOOL! THE HYPER-INFLATIONARY WAYS OF THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE A THING OF THE PAST WHEN THE URKOBOLD IS IN CHARGE. HIS NEEDS ARE MODEST. FOR A MERE HUNDRED BILLION A YEAR, THE URKOBOLD CAN MAINTAIN A CONTENT, ALBEIT MODEST, LIFESTYLE.

                2. I’m thinking a $100 coin would be good, might be pretty difficult to stack them though.

  10. What’s the comparison to China meant to show? That cutting the size of government leads to dramatic economic growth?

  11. I clicked on the Ezra Klein link hoping to see a smug douchey Backpfeifengesicht.

    I’m happy to see he did not disappoint.

    1. Well I think he’s reallyreallyreally dreamy!

    2. He always looks like he just got done wiping someone’s ass sweat off his face.

      1. But whose ass?

        1. Everybody’s.

        2. The sweatiest he can find. These humid days are a godsend to the swamp-ass fetishist.

          1. Rule 34 sucks sometimes.

            1. Rule 34 is a harsh mistress. And she ignores your safe word.

              1. Great book. I love Charlie Stross.

    3. I challenge you to find a more punchable face. Seriously, try it. You can’t do it.

      1. Yglesias comes to mind, but even he loses by a couple of lengths.

        1. Yglesias is just too sad to punch. No matter what you do to him, his eyes tell you it cannot be worse than what has already happened.

          1. Why does one get the feeling that the number of faces you guys’ve ever punched, much like the numbers of actual vaginas you’ve touched, can be counted on one hand?

            And the hand of an Alaskan cannery worker at that.

            1. You’ve noticed that “libertarians” frequently engage in sexually themed violence fantasies? Why is that? Frustration in the knowledge that nobody takes them seriously? Unpredictable or unreliable caregiving from parents? Excessive admiration that is never balanced with realistic feedback?

              1. Libertarians here often wish actual death on people for the crime of not agreeing with their marginal view of society.

                1. Citation, please.

              2. No, we’re just tired of the government and their toadies doing all the violent screwing.

            2. Maybe so, but it’s still one more of either than you’ve had.

              1. MNG|7.19.11 @ 2:40PM|#

                Libertarians here often wish actual death on people for the crime of not agreeing with their marginal view of society.

                Marginal? THAT coming from a Pat Buchanan supporter? LOL!!!!!!

      2. It’s simply not possible. I reflexively punch the newspaper every time I see his smarmy, ass-nugget of a face.

        1. “I reflexively punch the newspaper”

          JW found an opponent he can whup!

          1. Break it up everybody! Tuff-gai is here!

            1. Yeah, you guys were sitting around talking about punching people and the guy who shows up and teases you about it is the Tuf Gai.

              The Wacky World of Logic, Inferences and Stuff of the Right.

              1. I keep forgetting how it’s a waste of time to respond to you when you turn into a pissy, little bitch.

                1. Why would you ever talk to MNG? I mean, come on now.

                  1. Oh no, please, please Warty, don’t turn off dialogue with such an eloquent, well reasoned fellow as yourself.

                    Whatever will I do?

                    1. Devastating sarcasm!

                      While I’m breaking my rule, I might as well tell you to go fuck yourself. Go fuck yourself, you whiny little queen.

                    2. Or you will punch me and up your count to three?

                    3. “Whatever will I do?”

                      The dog needs masturbating again.

                  2. Why would you ever talk to MNG?

                    I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt that missing his mid-afternoon snack and nap is what makes him such a intolerable wanker.

                    1. No, low blood sugar doesn’t make anyone this much of a cuntnugget. It takes years of practice and a strong will to succeed at being an utter dickshit.

                    2. I did miss my nap today. Is your mom taking B vitamins or something?

                2. Pissy little bitches are, well, pissy little bitches.

                3. Don’t you have a newspaper to fight?

                4. you turn into a pissy, little bitch.

                  Uh, MNG wasn’t the one having a hissy fit with a newspaper.

              2. 1) You know libertarians aren’t right-wingers.
                2) There’s a huge difference between pointing out that some people need their butt kicked, and being violent, promoting violence, or bragging about violence. “That bratty child needs to be spanked” vs. “I shot his dog, then tased him”

                1. Libertarians are not conservatives, but about 50% of posters here are.

                  1. Citation, please. Or a link, or some sort of proof.

                    1. WE’RE ENTITLED TO OUR OPINIONS!

      3. I challenge you to find a more punchable face.

        http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q…..BDu04FJ-KQ

        Not even hard to do.

  12. I enjoyed the use of “suck on this”

  13. If you want to hit 18 percent – which just happens to be the average amount of revenue raised as a percentage of GDP since 1950 – you’ve got to go all the way back to 2000 and 2001 (see table 1.2, page 25).

    True, but we all know that for most people life in America was a miserable, dystopian hellhole way back in the dark days of the year 2000. The iPod and Obamacare hadn’t even been invented yet!

  14. How’s that shitty old Stealer’s Wheel song go?

    Josh Homme and pals can save that song. Barely, though.

    1. Only the finest in ear-cutting music.

  15. If anything those stats only show that throwing government money at a problem fails to solve it.

  16. One reason why the “cut, cap and balance” thing deserves no respect is that it up-front exempts the military, veterans, Medicare and Social Security. It’s like the GOP announced “let’s cut government, hands off every program our side likes!”

    1. The debt ceiling crisis is not a suicide pact! Or something.

    2. So your position is that, in order to take the proposal seriously, we need more cuts? Good to see you on board!

    3. Meh, it’s more like, “Hands off programs everyone likes and will lose us votes!”

      I mean, I think a Democratic proposal would also include veterans, Medicare, and Social Security. It may not exempt the military, but a lot of pols are from military districts.

      Honestly, this is the problem: The bipartisan consensus is that we, the American people, can take it up the ass later for votes now.

      1. This is exactly right. When I hear a GOPer say its time to cuts defense 20% across the board along with everything else, I’ll start to listen.

        1. Besides the Pauls, of course.

        2. I’m pretty sure that Rand Paul would be more than willing cut defense 20% across the board and maybe even more. Did not his recent budget porposal contain significant defense cuts?

          1. I did not know Rand proposed that – I presume he’s still pushing it?

        3. I think Gary Johnson espouses similar cuts.

    4. I would love to see the military spending numbers. 1966 was when everyone was convinced the Russkies were chomping at the bit to drop nukes on major US cities. Now our greatest domestic threat is some nutcase trying to light his underpants on fire on an international flight.

      1. THIS

        Any cuts that don’t include defense is a joke. Defense is not only the largest discretionary slice, but we spend so much more than other nations and our current threats warrant it should be first on the chopping block, not exempt…

        Everyone is for leaving programs they like alone and targeting programs they don’t. The GOP gets no credit for doing that.

        1. Re: MNG,

          Any cuts that don’t include defense is a joke. Defense is not only the largest discretionary slice, but we spend so much more than other nations and our current threats warrant it should be first on the chopping block, not exempt…

          The “best” part is that most of the spending in defense is not transparent (on purpose), even when it includes purchases for normal and routine operational supplies: you can’t find out how much they really pay for toilet paper. The reason being that the military buys a lot of stuff with a fantastic markup. The embarrassment factor is high with them.

          1. “How could you keep this a secret? Where did the money come from to build it?”

            “You don’t think the army really spends $500 on a toilet seat, do you?”

        2. Cutting military is political suicide.

          Show me a district without a huge military contractor of some sort.

          Effective cuts to the military would involve many of these contractors shutting their doors. That is political suicide. A guaranteed way to lose the next election, no matter what party the politician belongs to.

          1. Just for the record, things are getting dire enough that anyone worth a crap as a human being should be willing to commit political suicide to undo or at least mitigate the damage. It’s not like they can’t get a job after losing office, and the cuts could help the economy, which would protect many of them come re-election time, anyway.

            Naturally, we have very few people of even that low caliber in our government.

            1. that anyone worth a crap as a human being

              Let me know when we elect more than a couple of those at a time.

              1. Understood.

            2. People like that do not run for office.
              People run for office to increase their power, not dismantle government.

              1. Also understood.

          2. Show me a district without a huge military contractor of some sort.

            The state of Delaware.

            1. Umm…Dover Air Force Base?

            2. http://www.governmentcontracts…..cities.asp

              State Delaware (DE)
              Dollar Amount of Defense Contracts Awarded to Contractors in this State from 2000 to 2010 $1,626,286,220
              Number of Defense Contracts Awarded to Contractors in this State from 2000 to 2010 6,787
              Number of Defense Contractors in this State 701
              Number of Cities in this State 57

        3. The GOP gets no credit for doing that.

          And your “side” gets credit for…what again? I agree that defense should be cut, but entitlements should be first, but heaven forbid we throw grandma off the cliff in her wheelchair (even though that wheelchair is made of gold).

          1. Why should entitlements be before defense? And, isn’t “your side” exempting social security and the Medis? How is that going after entitlements?

            1. No, my “side” wants to cut everything. And the reason that entitlements should be first is because (1) they are more illegitimate than defense spending (2) they cost more and will break the budget faster than defense and (3) they impose a bigger cost on society than defense.

              It is astonishing to me that you are calling out the GOP for not cutting large programs and are exempting Democrats from your criticism for doing the exact same thing the GOP is doing, only worse. Worse because Democrats are not talking about hardly any meaningful cuts AND they control the Senate and the White House.

              1. “and are exempting Democrats from your criticism”

                Citation needed.

                As to your other points.

                1. They are far MORE defensible as they more likely go to people in need than to blow up some brown person in the Third World.
                3. Cuz blowing stuff up is the best way to spend money…

                1. You provide a linked citation of you criticizing Democrats and we might not consider you to be little more than a shill.

                  1. I actually did this in THIS VERY THREAD (@ 2:03 for example).

                  2. The clowns at LGF do this all the time too. Or at least they used to, I assume teh stoopit still runs strong over there.

                2. I cannot cite to an exemption you are making because there is no “there” there. You are not making a peep about your party.

                  1. They are far MORE defensible as they more likely go to people in need than to blow up some brown person in the Third World.

                  I hate to break this to you, but the military is largely a developing-world welfare program. Much of the spending goes toward nation-building. As for the “more likely to go to people in need”, well, if you want to sling [citation needed] around…

                  1. The programs we speak of either have age or need based eligibility requirements that I think speak for themselves. As for your point about the military I think it supports my point: I’d rather our money go the needy of our society, not in some hole in Iraq.

                    1. I keep forgetting that you are a utilitarian whose calculus ends at the water’s edge. So even though that dollar may have more of an impact abroad than here, and therefore is a more “moral” expenditure under your ethical calculus, you would still curtail your ethics based on accidents of birth?

                    2. Fuck the needy as they pertain to government.

              2. Son, most of the defense spending is simply pocket liner for corporate fatcats. That’s more illegitimate than grocery money for grandma.

                1. Citation, or link, or some sort of proof that ‘most’ defense spending is pocket liner for corporate ‘fatcats’.

                  1. To be provided right after cite, or link that most defense spending is developing world welfare programs.

            2. Why should entitlements be before defense?

              Defense is actually something provided for in the Constitution. Let’s start with the crap that isn’t, then worry about reeling in overspending on the stuff that is.

      2. Wasn’t the space program one of the biggest single budget items in ’66?

        1. Wasn’t NASA originally started as a ballistic missile research program? Lobbing a warhead into space and lobbing canned primates into space aren’t that different when you get down to the physics.

          1. Yup. We can put a MIRV into orbit around the Moon and bring it back to hit any target on Earth was pretty much the message of Apollo.

            1. We came to impose peace on all mankind.

            2. Plus it helps to have some sort of peaceful pretense when you are shooting payloads over the guy that’s competing with you in the nuclear stockpile race.

          2. Actually, the mission of NASA changed with JFK.

            According to a documentary on PBS a few years ago Eisenhower’s vision of the space program was to put sattellites into orbit to spy on the Russians. He believed that the more we knew the better our position regarding keeping the peace would be. With that in view the space program was modest and the last thing IKE wanted was huge media scrutiny of the thing.

            While Sputnik changed some of the official thinking Ike only reluctantly authorised the manned space program.

            It was Kennedy who went full bore with the man on the moon shit.

            1. While Sputnik changed some of the official thinking

              Sputnik radically changed the thinking. It’s consequences were the primary motivation for everything leading up to the moonshot, which was, yes, explicitly about military capability.

        2. No. The space program was big compared to now but it was never a major part of the budget.

          I don’t know if it’s true or not but someone who’s dad worked in the Appolo program said that the whole ten or so years of it cost a little more than one Nimitz class aircraft carrier.

          1. Public perception of the NASA budget is very different from reality and has been the subject of controversy since the agency’s creation. A 1997 poll reported that Americans had an average estimate of 20% for NASA’s share of the federal budget. In reality, NASA’s budget has been between 0.5% and 1% from the late 1960s on. NASA budget briefly peaked at over 4% of the federal budget in the mid-1960s during the build up to the Apollo program.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA

            I must have been thinking of the poll.

          2. The entire cost of Apollo was like $25 billion, which is around $200 billion in 2011 dollars.

            What was federal spending back then–couple hundred billion a year?

            1. It appears I’m misinformed then. According to the infallible Wikipedia a Nimitz class aircraft carrier cost $4.5 billion.

              So I guess we get more than five of them for the cost of Appolo.

              Thanks for the number PL. It’s good to get some kind of perspective on this.

              1. Actually, 4.5bill for a carrier is in 2000 dollars.

                So it looks like my friend was the typical full of shit child of a governement program spouting bogus “we don’t get enough money” numbers.

                🙂

                My bad.

            2. Where are you getting these numbers?

              From 1964 until 1973, a total of $6.5 billion ($43.99 billion present day) was appropriated for the Saturn V, with the maximum being in 1966 with $1.2 billion ($8.12 billion present day).[24]
              One of the main reasons for the cancellation of the Apollo program was the cost. In 1966, NASA received its biggest budget of US$4.5 billion, about 0.5 percent of the GDP of the United States at that time. In 1969, the cost of a Saturn V including launch was US $ 185 million (inflation adjusted US$ 1.11 billion in 2011).[25]

              1. Jebus. NASA couldn’t build a box kite with that money today.

                1. Good thing its entire budget is $17 billion.

              2. There was a CBO review of the total cost of Apollo a while back. Pretty sure that was the number they came up with, more or less. Probably counted some of the R&D going on during Mercury and Gemini.

              3. Bingo, I think the Saturn V was only part of the whole Appolo program.

                1. It was the big booster [Makes rocket-launching noises.]

                  1. Someone who lived in Christmas, about twenty or so miles from the Cape said that when the Atlas rockets went up he could hear them and feel the ground shaking at his house.

      3. One thing to keep in mind though: If we want to dramatically cut govt spending immediately, while simultaneously avoiding a huge hit to GDP, unemployement figures, and the rest, the best way of doing it is means testing the entitlement programs.

        As much as I want to see the military state halved immediately, I fully recognize that a significant portion of the workforce is employed in said industry. We have to have targets for racheting down that spending significantly over time, but doing it all in one big swoop would actually have some profound economic ramifications.

        In contrast, immediate means testing of SS and medicare would not have the same adverse impact. Warren Buffet, hell even the relatively modest lifetime earner (comparatively speaking) with a retirement stash of $10m, ain’t gonna change a damn thing about the way he spends in retirement on the basis of SS/MC cuts. Focus there, thereby avoiding some of the immediately painful shock of a full scale govt deleveraging that impacts people employed directly.

        1. but doing it all in one big swoop would actually have some profound economic ramifications.

          Yes, it would free up resources to use where we need them. It’s called creative destruction and it works. The sooner we stop wasting resources the shorter amount of time it will take to right the ship.

        2. If we want to dramatically cut govt spending immediately, while simultaneously avoiding a huge hit to GDP,

          Not possible. Deficit spending alone made up 12% of GDP last year. The sheer number of people who depend on some form of government paycheck every month virtually ensures that GDP would go through the floor if government spending is cut significantly. The key is how long it would actually stay down, because the fact of the matter is that we can’t continue to keep spending 12% of GDP in debt every year. The law of exponential functions takes over and blows the whole premise to hell. So unless we take the medicine now, it will get much worse the longer we wait.

          1. That’s a broader problem with how we account for GDP. I can understand gov’t being a component of GDP, but transfer payments make no sense in that regard. Direct infrastructure funding? Sure. But not transfer payments.

            And I’m in full agreement on ridding the entire deficit yesterday, its just a function of where to make the cuts, and I think SS/MC means testing should be targeted as the first option due to being least damaging to overall economic activity.

            1. You’re right because it constitutes a double count if and when the receipient spends or “invests” the benefits.

    5. It would be nice to swee the Democrats put a proposal on the table to deal seriously with Medicare and Social Security.

      So far they seem content to just bash Paul Ryan for having the guts to do it.

      1. It’s the opposite side of the same coin – which is why nothing serious will be done, they’ll find a clever way to paper over the problem to get past the next election cycle, and deal with it then.

        Lather, rinse, repeat.

      2. It is unfortunate. They are doing to Medicare and Medicaid what the GOP would do to them for defense cuts, that is if the Dems had the balls to offer that.

        1. They’ve done it repeatedly. The GOP has a proposal out to means-test social security way, way, back in 1987, when it was already forseeable what was going to happen.

          We ended up with a payroll tax hike instead. That was under a Democratic controlled Congress.

          1. You might recall that I’ve long advocated “means-testing the shit out of our entitlements.” The reason why many liberals won’t go for it is the same reason why some conservatives will not go for anything that looks like a tax increase even if it seemed necessary for debt reasons-they don’t trust the other side. Cons rightfully don’t trust spending to be cut back and think the increased taxes will just be spent (and thensome). Liberals are likewise wary of means-testing proposals from folks who often slip and say they would love to get rid of the programs to be means-tested.

            1. This is great. So, on one hand:

              Liberals are likewise wary of means-testing proposals from folks who often slip and say they would love to get rid of the programs to be means-tested

              but on the other hand:

              One reason why the “cut, cap and balance” thing deserves no respect is that it up-front exempts the military, veterans, Medicare and Social Security. It’s like the GOP announced “let’s cut government, hands off every program our side likes!”

              So, which is it? Is the GOP stealthily trying to eliminate entitlements, or are they not going far enough?

              1. It’s true that depending on who their audience is the GOP can be all over the place on this issue.

                1. Nice attempt at deflecting your own personal schizophrenia here.

                  If liberals really think that means-testing is a stealth way to eliminate programs, then they are dumb as posts. OTOH, any conservative who views tax increases with skepticism has historical evidence a-plenty to back it up.

                  1. The idea is that every means-test reduces the constituency and hence political viability of the program.

                    And I don’t know what to tell you, it’s pretty easy to show examples of GOPers who seem to be mulling fundamental change in entitlements one day and the next proclaim they are the defenders of said programs.

                    1. The idea is that every means-test reduces the constituency and hence political viability of the program.

                      Is that an admission that the liberal/Democratic calculus is “more people on government = more votes = more power”? Wow, never thought I would hear it stated so baldly.

                    2. It’s a recognition that programs with broad benefits often have more broad support. It’s about the political viability of the program, not the party, as you imply.

                    3. The GOP is hypocritical on entitlements precisely because they’ve been burned so badly, so often, whenever they try to do anything about them, by the Democrats and the AARP.

                      And yet some of them STILL have the balls to talk seriously about reform.

                      In a way, it’s kind of sad. It’s like watching the class nerd keep makinbg honest efforts to make frends with the class bullies. You don’t know whether to laugh or cry when he gets another predictable wedgie.

                    4. As I said below it’s a mirror image of the Dems and defense.

                    5. “And I don’t know what to tell you, it’s pretty easy to show examples of GOPers who seem to be mulling fundamental change in entitlements one day and the next proclaim they are the defenders of said programs.”

                      Change and defense are not mutually exclusive.

              2. For MNG, it doesn’t matter as long he is “right”.

              3. Minge has just openly admitted right here that the liberal attitude is “if we give an inch, they’ll demand a mile”. Never mind that this doesn’t work as a purely logical position; nobody can ever force you to give a mile just because you yield an inch.

                And there have been many times in the past when conservatives have reluctantly yielded on the issue of raising taxes, yet never once in my lifetime have liberals ever yielded anything on the issue of the big ticket entitlement programs. What he claims that he advocates here is a sideshow and not relevant to this debate.

                1. If you’ve ever wondered just how high on Mt. Stupid Mike M can climb, crane your neck and behold! His side currently literally won’t give an inch on their pet issue and he turns it around.

                  “never once in my lifetime have liberals ever yielded anything on the issue of the big ticket entitlement programs”

                  What are you, five years old? If I can show you a past event of Dems signing on to entitlement reform what will you give me? a public pronouncement of your stupidity?

                  1. So, you’re saying it’s immature to be skeptical of someone’s willingness to negotiate in good faith on a subject, when they have never once negotiated in good faith on that subject, and have in fact repeatedly induced YOU to make good faith proposals, and then used them to paint you as granny-murderers for political gain instead.

                    1. Yes!

                    2. They have negotiated in good faith on the subject. They have talked about raising revenue by rolling back the Bush tax cuts. It’s just that the right and libertoids won’t have any of it, so they proclaim that there was no proposal made.

      3. The Democrats have put a proposal on the table to deal with Medicare, it’s called having the rich pay their fair share of taxes. But, the knee-jerk right won’t have that. Then, they blame the Democrats for not wanting to address their problem.

    6. The Democrats should show them by passing a plan that does nothing -but- cut the military, veterans, Medicare and Social Security, all of which Democrats hate.

    1. Too bad you have to be a cop to have anything done about it.

    2. Sounds like the boot was on the other foot.

      HAHAHAHA

      1. Great comment thread, btw. More than a few unsympathetic commenters, which is surprising for ar15.com.

        1. arf.com has plenty of dislike for the jackboot, but it simmers under the surface because the mods don’t like to see it.

          1. arfcom loves a man in uniform (NTTAWWT)

    3. Did they make you shoot your own dog?

      Excellent.

  17. Good to know that the value of a check increases with its height, and not with its area.

  18. It’s not Ezra’s fault. He’s retarded.

    1. As the timecube guy says, he was educated stupid.

      1. I’m pretty sure he went into UC Santa Cruz no smarter than when he left.

  19. So it’s not a question of “going back to the ’60s.” If you want to hit 18 percent – which just happens to be the average amount of revenue raised as a percentage of GDP since 1950 – you’ve got to go all the way back to 2000 and 2001

    Well, it’s the Center For American Progress, and you can’t have progress without a few pragmatic LIES, can’t you???

  20. Apparently if we dare to cut spending, life expectancy may drop by nearly eight years! Holy guacamole!

    1. Think about all the old people we won’t have leaching off us anymore!

  21. I was reading that “Chart”… and quickly realized it has nothing to do with any relevant statistics regarding government spending.

    Just, “we spent less in the 60s… and there were ALSO more poor people! Life expectancy was shorter!…etc”

    WTF? Are you kidding? It’s no different than saying… =

    “The budget was low in the 60s…. you know what else was Low in the 60s…?? AIR QUALITY!! WHY DO YOU WANT TO RE-POLLUTE AMERICA!?!?”

    Thats basically the M.O. here. Total. Fucking. Non-Sequitur.

    Basically, there’s no argument being made at all. It’s a simulacra of an argument. Just some numbers, pretty pictures, and insinuation of a relationship between these things and “less goverment spending”.

    I would call the whole thing an insult to people’s intelligence… but then I remembered who their target market was.

    It’s really not that different than another standard Progressive Liberal non-argument-argument:

    “Yeah? Well….The Constitution is Old. Stop living in the past!!”

    Whats most insulting about these rhetorical gimmicks they use is that you have to assume at least a certain percentage of the Prog-Libs actually *know what they’re doing* is pure rhetorical bullshit, but they don’t care and are perfectly willing to dissemble and obfuscate in order to achieve some political point-scoring.

    I admit, the more of them I come across, I realize the percentage that actually understands how fallacious their own arguments are is smaller than I’d assumed.

    1. I must protest the use of the term “Prog-Libs”, as it weakens my branding.

      It’s telling that they don’t address changes that have little or nothing to do with the government–like improvements in technology, food production, and so on. Of course, that’s par for the statist course–attribute every good thing that happened after the government acted to the government. Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

    2. If anything, the chart is prima facie evidence of why the current level of spending shouldn’t be and can’t be maintained. Were paying SS beneficiaries 253% more? 296% more per student in education? No wonder we’re fucking broke.

      I’d swear that if I didn’t know any better, that this was an LP plant.

    3. Whats most insulting about these rhetorical gimmicks they use is that you have to assume at least a certain percentage of the Prog-Libs actually *know what they’re doing* is pure rhetorical bullshit, but they don’t care and are perfectly willing to dissemble and obfuscate in order to achieve some political point-scoring.

      I admit, the more of them I come across, I realize the percentage that actually understands how fallacious their own arguments are is smaller than I’d assumed.

      FUCKING THIS.

    4. “The budget was low in the 60s…. you know what else was Low in the 60s…?? AIR QUALITY!! WHY DO YOU WANT TO RE-POLLUTE AMERICA!?!?”

      Yeah, they typically don’t see the connection between that pollution and the union-run industrial economy that they simultaneously want to bring back.

  22. One of the things I ask people, when I get into these discussions is why, if we’ve managed to make food clothing and shelter cheaper over the past 100 years, we can’t make government less expensive too.

    Particularly since a big slice of this argument is over welfare programs that provide basic food, clothing and shelter.

    Unfortunately, Social Security and Medicare are not merely welfare programs. They’re designed to pay more than minimal supports. In the case of Medicare, they’re designed to pay without any meaningful limits, even.

    1. Do you really buy the proposition that clothing and shelter are cheaper today than they were 100 years ago? 50 years ago? If you are relying upon some government source for your numbers, your reliance upon the same will not be respected by adults.

      1. Well, maybe not shelter, housing prices being what they are.

        Although I bet the minimal cost of constgruction has gone down, but we’re just building bigger houses.

        Clothing has for sure gotten cheaper. Maybe not if your paying for retail brand name clothing, but if you aren’t a retard, you can get a pair of jeans today for less than what you would have paid in 1985.

      2. LM, if the government said the sky was blue, would you doubt that piece of common knowledge just because of the source?

        It is pretty common knowledge that many basic consumer goods have not only become more affordable, but have also increased in variation.

    2. “Unfortunately, Social Security and Medicare are not merely welfare programs. They’re designed to pay more than minimal supports.”

      I know, they should be replaced with programs of vouchers for band-aids.

      1. Better yet, individualized savings accounts for future band-aid purchases!

      2. They should be replaced with programs that are financially sustainable, with meaningful limits on spending.

        But you know, that would be pulling the plug on granny.

        1. The programs are supposed to provide care for certain groups. That care has gotten expensive for a variety of reasons, many of which, such as life expectancy, are not the result of government largesse.

          1. Blatant, naked fraud has certianly played its role.

      3. You know, I’ve never met a Strawman I didn’t like.

  23. The Monkees! I knew it was them! Even when it was the bears, I knew it
    was them.

  24. Here’s what I learn from that graphic about the last 44 years:

    1. The price of labor has gone down, but individual productivity has gone up.

    2. We choose to spend some of that production on marginal improvements in our health.

    3. We also spend some of that production on really marginal improvements in our education system.

    4. Either poverty can’t be fixed or our way of measuring it is broken.

    5. The Chinese move towards capitalism is yielding wonderful results.

    6. Our pop music still sucks.

    1. Oh, I don’t know that the delta in education is all that marginal. Of course, the changes have largely been the opposite of improvements.

      1. Oh, I don’t know that the delta in education is all that marginal. Of course, the changes have largely been the opposite of improvements.

        Yeah, I wasn’t around in the 60’s so I figured I would give them the benefit of the doubt.

        1. I was, and let me tell you, I was learning quantum theory in preschool.

          Okay, maybe I made that up. But still.

  25. 15 million more people in poverty, despite decades and 100s and 100s of billions, if not over a trillion, of dollars spent attempting to reduce it.

    Mission accomplished!

    1. Not only is that number an outright lie, the definition of “poverty” is also a lie.

      43 million people in poverty? How can anyone say such a thing with a straight face?

      The only way to continue claiming that poverty exists is to continually redefine poverty upward.

      Today, in 2011, there is not one person in the USA living in actual “poverty” exception mentally ill homeless.

      Period.

      1. I don’t disagree with that assessment, but as I mentioned upthread, it’s almost like the chart was designed by libertarians to show the fecklessness of the gubmint.

      2. The problem with you guys is your failure to see that poverty, like many things, is defined in relation to something else. Saying someone is poor is like saying someone is short, of course it moves as its comparison other does.

        1. Not necessarily. You can define poverty on an absolute scale. Leftists simply choose to define it on relative scale for obvious politically advantageous reason.

          If we define “poverty” as lacking hot water, food, vaccinations, television, internet, camera cellphones, free education, free ER care, air conditioning, refrigeration, access to clean water, and cigarettes, then NO ONE in america is poor and most people understand that.

          If you want to say I’m poor just because someone else is EVEN MORE wealthy than me, you frankly lack credibility

          1. Just like if I say you’re short because some people are taller than you?

            1. “poorness” and “poverty” aren’t necessarily synonyms.

              How about “poor” is a relative term, but “poverty” is an objective state that can be measured in absolute terms?

              1. As cynical points out you’re going to have problems even with that restriction.

                I try to reserve poverty or poor to people that, when I drive by or hear about their situation, I think “man, that would suck.”

        2. The problem with saying “poverty” is relative to something else, is that A) it becomes an unsolvable problem by its very nature, B) your definition increasingly drifts from the reasons that people think poverty needs to be addressed.

          People care about poverty to the extent of justifying forcible means of fighting it because of absolute reasons like starvation, not because you have the smallest swimming pool in the neighborhood and your family only has two cars.

          1. It’s true that a relative understanding of it causes it to be largely about inequality.

            1. Yes. It is also true that concern about “inequality” (beyond the procedural) tends to be rooted in envy and hate, whereas concern about absolute poverty is rooted in compassion. Even compassion can be corrupted or lead to negative consequences, but when your intentions start off bad…

            2. And inequality is a total fucking red herring. Who cares if someone has more than you as long as you have enough? Envy is a mortal sin for a reason.

              1. People care about it for the same reason they worry about political inequality, because money=power and hence economic inequality means power inequality.

                1. money=power

                  No wonder taxes keep going up.

                2. This amounts to arguing against wealth, not disparity. There’s a way to fix that but why don’t you try moving to Cuba or North Korea first and give us your report.

                3. Money = influence, power = power. Politicians can demand, billionaire funders can request.

                  Besides, the sort of people that worry about income inequality don’t seem to worry about the constant, massive flow of power constant flow of power from individuals to technocratic minders; from cities and states to Washington; from the deliberative and democractic, if dysfunctional, Congress toward the One Decider; toward czars and bureaucrats intead of elected officials directly accountable to the people. Not to mention shifting power from the distributed accountability of competitive markets to the easily-corrupted oligarchs of the regulatory bureaucracy.

                  They’ve convinced themselves that anything worth doing is worth doing in D.C., and then wonder why lobbyists have more access to power than voters.

              2. John, amen.

            3. Which is more about people concerned about cosmic justice at the expense of real rights and liberties.

              1. What’s funny is I could repost your comment as my response.

            1. To be fair to MNG (I may as well argue his side too), “relative” can mean more than just an obsession with income distribution and redistribution — it also means that as new things are invented, some of them become critical to what people think of as a normal quality of life.

              I mean, most people would think that lack of access to electricity in the U.S. constitutes “poverty”, but clearly it’s not a useful standard to apply to 18th century living. So, while at any given context, poverty should be considered in absolute terms, it may change from context to context based on what is an achievable standard of living for the typical person.

        3. So why the hell would we constantly be trying to “end” something that, by definition, can never be ended without exact income & wealth equality?

        4. So, in other words, the war on poverty will never end, until everyone has absolutely exactly the same income.

          Maybe in the future we can redefine “terrorism” upwards too.

          1. Maybe in the future we can redefine “terrorism” upwards too.

            We’re way ahead of you… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Assange

            1. I think it needn’t be that simplistic. You might think that only “gross” inequality is the problem.

              1. I think it’s gross inequality that politicians get paid six figures a year, have nice offices, and armed guards.

        5. Re: MNG,

          The problem with you guys is your failure to see that poverty, like many things, is defined in relation to something else.

          MNG, EVERYTHING is defined in relation of something else. That’s not the point: see below.

          Saying someone is poor is like saying someone is short, of course it moves as its comparison other does.

          You’re evading the issue which is what GOALS the government established to finally defeat poverty. They keep moving the goal posts ever so upwards just to keep the programs alive. When do we reach the magical number?

          Never, of course. So this nonsense about poverty being whatever is compared to something else obviates the fact that government was NEVER interested in “ending povery,” but in keeping it perpetual, at least by definition.

          1. You just can’t reason with people like MNG. They are beyond our help.

      3. Basically we’ve defined poverty as being “the 15% of the population with the lowest income.”

      4. Census defines a person in poverty as someone who:

        ? Lives in a home that is in good repair, not crowded, and equipped with air conditioning, clothes washer and dryer, and cable or satellite TV service.

        ? Prepares meals in a kitchen with a refrigerator, coffee maker and microwave as well as oven and stove.

        ? Enjoys two color TVs, a DVD player, VCR and ? if children are there ? an Xbox, PlayStation, or other video game system.

        ? Had enough money in the past year to meet essential needs, including adequate food and medical care.

          1. I don’t even have some of that stuff, and I’m a hyper-rich libertarian who drinks the blood of poor kids.

        1. Sorry, that ain’t poverty, no way, no how.

          1. The goalposts move much easier when they’re on casters.

    2. I could swear that the total cost of welfare programs was more than that. I saw the number somewhere–could it be $6 trillion? Anyone know?

      1. It probably matters what and how you’re counting it, but I do recall seeing at least $1 trillion total cost bandied about a few years ago.

  26. Mark Steyn was interviewing a guy on the radio today that said government spending is 4 times the amount necessary to just give enough of a bundle of cash to every “poor” person to bring them past the poverty line.

  27. Completely unrelated: Sometimes cops are negligent dipshits to cops, too.

    Nice.

    Even comments about how the “arresting” officer should be run out of the Brotherhood. Of course, the only offense worthy of dismissal is failure to extend professional courtesy.

    1. I wonder what would have happened if the poster was a mundane.

  28. A “civilian” would have been treated to a night’s lodging (or more), an arraignment, and all the other benefits of our Land-and-Order regime, I suspect, while the “investigation” progressed.

    It’s surprising the guy’s kids weren’t snatched out of the car and provided safe haven by Child Protective Services.

  29. When’s the Last Time the Feds Spent Just 18% of GDP? Hint: You Don’t Have to Go Back to 1966

    Haven’t RTFA yet, but I’ll take a guess: Last week.

  30. OT: Rupert Murdoch attacked in Parliament, attacker bitch slapped by Mrs. Murdoch

    Rupert Murdoch attacked in Parliament

    1. Me, I’m hoping there’s some interesting stuff in the files LulzSec grabbed from them. The hackers hacked, the tabloid turned into the biggest fucking tabloid story in some time.

      Mysterious deaths, the powerful getting their comeuppance, outrageous and offensive conduct, and a metanarrative that manages to pull in all sort of other celebrity scandals and sensationalized tragedies-du-jour together for cameo appearances.

      If this was TV, it would be one of those rip-off episodes where 90% of the show is recycled filler, except that they had the balls to throw in some huge plot twists and run the whole damn thing during sweeps week. If it’s a novel, it’s some sort of over-the-top Neal-Stephenson-esque satire of the tabloid industry.

  31. Re: MNG,

    The problem with you guys is your failure to see that poverty, like many things, is defined in relation to something else.

    MNG, EVERYTHING is defined in relation of something else (e.g. you’re a human, alive, on Earth.) That’s not the point: see below.

    Saying someone is poor is like saying someone is short, of course it moves as its comparison other does.

    You’re evading the issue which is what GOALS the government established originally to finally say “we defeated poverty.” They simply keep moving the goal posts ever so upwards just to keep the programs alive. When do we reach the magical number?

    Never, of course. So this nonsense about comparative poverty obviates the fact that government was NEVER interested in “ending poverty,” but in keeping it perpetual, at least by definition.

  32. those who focus on “inequality” are generally unequal, if you know what i mean.

  33. How’s that shitty old Stealer’s Wheel song go?

    Why is it shitty? Catchy the first time i heard it & used in a classic scene from Reservoir Dogs. I did enjoy the “Eagles of Death Metal” cover as well – thanks to the linker way back above.

  34. Well, as Ezra pointed out, you not only misread his post and the GOP bill, but you can’t even calculate properly. Illiterate and innumerate, Nick, that’s impressive!

  35. Government spending should never be pegged to a certain percentage of GDP. Government functions are supposedly strictly limited by the Constitution. As the economy grows and prospers, the percentage of GDP needed to execute those functions should decline over time.

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