Since 2009, there has been a running narrative among proponents of expansive government that government spending has gone down. I addressed this claim in response to Paul Krugman some time ago, but a nifty new chart came out a few weeks ago that emphasizes the point even better. The chart is immediately below.
What does this chart show? It notes that as a share of the economy, total American government spending surpasses that which took place in World War II. And it’s been getting worse since President Bush took office, but really took off in 2009, when the effects of TARP, the auto bailouts, and other Bush and Obama policies were implemented to “save” the economy.
This is a very significant step we have reached as a nation. Literally, spending is going up faster as a percentage of the economy than it did during the biggest war in the history of the world. But unlike World War II, America won’t have the economic dominance it did after the war (every other major country’s infrastructure was blown to pieces, and many of their non-military citizens had been lost to war, whereas America took no attacks on its shores after Pearl Harbor, and none on its mainland, and had a huge portion of its citizenry still inside the country working), and we will have a huge entitlements problem to worry about.
This is exactly why the Tea Party exists: to make these kinds of facts known, and reverse course on both the growth of spending and the nation’s unacceptably slow rate of economic recovery. Unfortunately, states and the country have massive pension and entitlement problems, so how we move forward will partially be dictated how those programs are reformed for financial reality. Let’s make sure we hold Congress accountable if it fails to face that financial reality.