Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Spending/Debt Chart I'd Like to See

The above chart was posted on twitter during the most recent debate, and while I like it, I also sort of don't.

Suppose in the last year of my presidency I get through a bill that requires the government to redistribute 5% of GDP to those who make less than the median income, beginning with the next fiscal year. My vice president wins the following election and serves eight years by which time my program is firmly established. If you tally up spending/debt under my administration, my biggest impact on spending/debt gets attributed to future presidencies. That’s what I don’t like about the above chart and others like it.

The spending and associated debt for each administration is a combination of their period expenditures (discretionary spending, defense) and spending due to past legislation. The chart I would like to see would be of the area type with a band running from past to the current president. In such a graph, Eisenhower would presumably be insignificant (except highway spending?), but FDR (Social Security) and LBJ (Medicare & Medicaid) would loom large. The future cost of Obamacare would hit Obama not presidents that follow him.

I don’t know what, if any, effect such a view into spending would have, but it would give a more accurate picture of what our government is doing. Surely, there is some benefit in that.

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