Monday, January 25, 2010

Stat of the day

Tom Quiner:
If we adjust for inflation using 1980 dollars, federal spending has climbed 79 percent, from $2,498 per person in 1980 to $4,470 today.
What's particularly interesting about this to me is that the U.S. is a significantly richer country now than 30 years ago. Therefore, even if one subscribes to the belief that government must provide a social safety net to take care of society's least fortunate, such spending should have declined over that time. Not only is the U.S. wealthier than 1980, it is also substantially more secure as it no longer faces the threat of communism, and yet defense spending remains incredibly high. Lastly, given productivity improvements it would seem that less money should be required over time to provide a constant level of government services.

Yet no matter the circumstances, government spending is on an inexorable upwards trajectory.


Paradigm Shifter said...

Technically, population growth should also be taken into account. According to US Census Records:
1980: 226M (
2010 (projected): 308M (
That means if government spending were to keep up with population growth, you would have to grow your figure another 36.3%. The numbers still look bad, but not as bad.

Colin said...

Yes, but since it says the spending has grown per person, I assume that population growth is already accounted for.

Paradigm Shifter said...

Ah... good catch. I was too quick on the comment. It would help if I slowed down a bit, I am sure.