Government Spending

Reason Writers Around Town: Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch in the Washington Examiner on "What both parties must understand about the budget"

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In a mini-excerpt from their book The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America, Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch blast Republicans and Democrats for the decade-long binge in federal spending, and then sketch out a solution. Excerpt:

If history is any guide and if the federal government wants to balance its books, it's got to spend no more than around 19 percent of GDP. So what would it take for the federal government to restrain spending to just 19 percent of GDP in 2020?

According to the Congressional Budget Offices' alternative-scenario projections, it would mean coming up with a budget equal to $3.7 trillion in today's dollars, rather than an anticipated $5 trillion if spending stays on autopilot. How do you trim $1.3 trillion over a decade or so?

Cut $130 billion out of projected spending (including projected increases) every year for the next decade. It's the only way to actually keep the federal government solvent until we get around to fully revising outdated entitlement programs that are set to beggar us more than any stock market collapse ever did.

And to put that 19 percent spending figure in perspective: spending in Clinton's final budget amounted to just a hair over 18 percent of GDP. Nobody back then was surviving on cat food.

Whole thing here.

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  1. This is really analogous to all the specialty diet books that have been getting published for decades. They all try to complicate and obfuscate the simplicity of weight loss. All you have to do is burn more calories than you consume. It’s simply a matter of actually doing it.

    1. Actually that’s not true. It’s not just a matter of raw calorie count. If we have five extra calories left over at the end of the day, we don’t just store them on our hip. We excrete them.

      What matters is metabolism, and it’s a very complicated thing. Diet and exercise do play significant roles, but it’s not as straightforward as the raw number of calories.

  2. Percentage GDP is a red herring. It’s not relevant.

    1. How do you figure it’s a red herring? If the fed only collects x amount of money, that amount is going to be a certain percentage of the GDP. The relevance is that the government only takes in x but is spending y. And z. And p, d, q as well.

  3. Silly Nick and Matt, don’t they realize that going back to 1999 budget levels will result in anarchy, huddled masses of old people dying in the streets, Somalia!, and ROADDDZZZ!!!11!1!

    Which of course is our (libertarian’s for those not so bright people) final solution.

    1. You know who else had a final solution?

      1. Jeep Swenson?

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