I expect left-laden garbage out of people on this side of the argument but this one, which Big Picture picked up after Krugman wrote on it, has severely damaged their good name, such as it was.
I’ve written about this before, but since Paul Krugman just posted about it, perhaps it’s time to revisit the issue. Professor Krugman’s chart, in my opinion, doesn’t go far enough in that it does not provide sufficient context. While the chart does show the YoY percent decline in Real Government Expenditures & Investment, it does not give us the context of how Obama’s doing versus his predecessors, which I think adds the proper perspective.
The Big Picture goes on to present an intentionally-misleading chart that claims that Obama’s government spending, “GCEC1” in FRED parlance, is well below that of Republican Presidents indexed to 100 when they took office.
It looks like a hell of a nice chart and it would be, except for one small problem — it ignores a hell of a lot of the government’s actual spending on purpose.
The chart that was “rebased” is actually here:
So let’s take the latest seasonally-adjusted raw number: $2,462.2 billion.
Ok, so what’s the government’s actual spending number as near as we can determine in terms of run rate for this year?
Expected is $3,800 billion, or 154% of that which Big Picture cited.
The problem is that Big Picture’s chart shows only what government consumes and invests. That is, the bullets (and rifles) bought for the defense department, the toner cartridges for the printers, check stock for the Treasury, computers for the offices, drugs and supplies for doctors and “investment”, such as building new buildings and renovating old ones, building roads and bridges and similar.
Left out are all the other expenses — things that are not consumption. Like salaries. Like transfer payments such as Medicare, Medicaid, welfare and Social Security, other than physical direct consumption in those programs.
In fact Federal Spending has gone up in every year of Obama’s administration. You’d believe, from that chart, that it’s gone down.
You’d be wrong, but this sort of intentional misdirection is what the left is best at.
Update: Title rebased to reflect that this was the blog, as the post itself was by a guest poster. Nonetheless Barry’s blog ran it and wasn’t disclaimed as a “not my work and I don’t approve or disapprove” sort of thing, so there it is.