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Government Spending Never Drops

January 22, 2012
Mike Myer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

When times get tough, most of us don't have a choice: We cut back on spending, somehow.

When the kids go to college, we may have to make do with used cars instead of new ones for a few years. If serious illness strikes, it can get worse. Dream homes may have to be sacrificed in favor of less expensive digs, in order to get spending back in balance with income.

Uncle Sam doesn't do that. He never will, if the money-grows-on-a-tree-in-Washington crowd has its way.

Since 1959, federal spending has been on a steady upward curve - no matter what shape the economy was in and no matter what were the needs for government spending.

Certainly there have been times - war, for example - when Washington needed to be spending more. But once the Vietnam War ended, government spending didn't go down. With the Iraq war over and troops on their way out of Afghanistan, one might expect Congress to tighten the budget belt a notch or two.

But no. During fiscal 2009, with fighting in both countries, federal spending totaled $3.52 trillion. The estimate for FY 2015 is $4.38 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office (all the numbers are calculated in 2005 "constant" dollars).

Wait, though. During the recent recession, more than $1 trillion in "stimulus" and "bailout" money was spent. Surely removing those items from the budget will bring spending down?

Again, no. The trend continues upward.

Most of us would be delighted if our income, in inflation adjusted dollars, shot up by 77 percent during a 10-year period.

Not Washington. Again in inflation-adjusted dollars, federal spending for FY 2005 was $2.47 trillion. The estimate for 2015 shows a 77 percent boost.

Where's it all going? Is the government doing 77 percent more for us than it was 10 years ago? And why do the liberals keep protesting that they don't have enough money to spend?

This is crazy. You, dear reader, can't handle your household spending the way government deals with out tax dollars (and deficits).

Here's the bottom line: We've known for decades we were spending beyond our means. Our answer to the problem? Throw more money at it. That's just insane.

Myer can be reached at: Myer@news-register.net.

 
 

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