See if you can spot Don Boudreaux’s weasel word

June 6, 2012 § 1 Comment

Here’s a letter to the Huffington Post; (HT Chris Bray):

Robert Reich writes that “government spending as a portion of GDP keeps dropping” (“The Big-Lie Coup d’Etat,” June 5).

Perspective is vital.  Total government spending in the U.S., as a percent of GDP, in 2012 is indeed projected to be down by three percentage points from its recent high in 2009 (a drop to 40 percent from 43 percent).  But this fall is largely an artifact of the colossal spending spike in 2009, when – as a percent of GDP – total government spending in the U.S rose from 37 percent in 2008 to 43 percent one year later.  Total government spending in 2012, at 40 percent of GDP, remains 2.4 percentage points higher than its annual average for the ten-year period 2003-2012 and, significantly, 5.6 percentage points higher than its annual average for the ten-year period (1999-2008) leading up to the start of the current slump.*

Mr. Reich’s suggestion that the recent dip in government spending reflects austerity makes no more sense than suggesting, say, that a man whose weight suddenly ballooned from 260 to 300 pounds is, with his weight now down to 290 pounds, dangerously skinny.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

 

http://cafehayek.com/2012/06/whats-the-reich-benchmark.html

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§ One Response to See if you can spot Don Boudreaux’s weasel word

  • The magic fairy dust of government spending– it cures all ills. It’s the most miraculous stuff on the face of the earth. Too bad the government isn’t spending 50 or even better 60% of GDP so we can hire more federal and state works, pay more pensions, and create more regulations and impediments to progress. Sounds like Nirvana.

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