Spending Wars

The ideas that federal spending exploded under George W. Bush, that "Bush's wars" account for our spending explosion, that Reaganism died with Reagan, and that we are on a spending binge that started decades ago are all nonsense. Our current spending binge is a very recent phenomenon with a very specific starting point: the year Democrats started writing budgets (or continuing resolutions), compounded by Barack Obama's inauguration. Look at the chart below.  If you were to cover up the last four years on the right, 2008-11, would you say spending was getting out of hand?  In 2007, total spending was 19.6% of GDP, a level nearly matching that of 1996, and comfortably below the average level of spending from 1960 through 2000: 20.3% of GDP.   Sources: OMB and CBO. And that relatively low level of spending in 2007 included War-on-Terror spending.  Without the WOT, a reaction to being attacked on our soil, federal spending in 2007 was just 18.4% of GDP -- a level not...(Read Full Article)