GOP Graph Suggests Obama Doubled the Size of Government

Here's how the GOP, in yesterday's Pledge, presented federal spending in the current White House versus previous administrations:

gopspendingasshareconomy.jpg

It's twice the size! It's true. The size of government doubled ... over a baseline of 17 percent. Here's what the graph looks like when you start at zero, instead of the mid-teens.

government_size_as_percentage_of_economy.png


And here's federal spending as a percentage of GDP since 1980.


spending federal 2009.png

What's my point? Of course federal spending is up in the worst recession since the Great Depression. Still, there has been a kind of thermostatic evenness to the size of government as a percentage of GDP for the last 30 years. The problem isn't 2010. It's 2020, when the Boomers retire.

Here's a graph of federal health care spending as a share of the economy since 1960. If federal spending's share of GDP is the barely movable object, health care inflation is the unstoppable force. Something's gotta give.

Thumbnail image for medical spending GDP.png

Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

The Blacksmith: A Short Film About Art Forged From Metal

"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

More in Business

Just In