Here it is, folks. Right from WhiteHouse.gov. The amount of Federal Government spending per capita from 1901 to the present and projected out to 2019. Population projections were taken from the Census Bureau. Everything is adjusted to 2008 dollars (since we’re interested in the shape of this curve, the base year doesn’t matter).
This is an update to last year’s The Most Depressing Graph: Per Capita Federal Spending Rises Alarmingly.
The bumps are wars, naturally: the big ones—WWI, WWII, Cold, Afghanistan/Iraq—are easily seen. Korea and Vietnam not so much, but they’re still there (obviously).
The inexorable overall increase in this graph describes the size of Leviathan’s waist.
Sure, the GDP, however that might be calculated, has increased over this same period (also in constant dollars). But for our purposes this matters little. Besides, as the second most depressing graph shows (from last year; not yet updated), government spending as a percentage of GDP has also been on its way upwards and onwards.
I claim this graph is a direct proxy for the level, size, and intrusiveness of government (especially considering spending as percentage of GDP is also increasing at about the same rate). Every dollar spent is a fraction of control. And that control is not slowing; perhaps it is even accelerating, especially when we consider the full effect of Obamacare has not yet been felt.
There is nothing Yours Truly can see, save Divine intervention, which can slow the growth of the beast. Especially since an occult feedback is present. The more control the government has, the more control it, and its citizens for the most part, demand. For example, members of the intelligentsia still pen articles like “Yes, the government should spend more each year“. Too much is never enough.
Neither political party dares cut spending, and thus control, more than by token amounts. Every proposed cut is met by bleating and whining from (some segment of) the populace. The Republicans, it’s true, might slow the acceleration of spending, just as the Democrats would increase it, but there is no evidence the increasing trend will be anything but increasing no matter who is in power.
The amount spent per capita shows the dependence the people have on government. $12,000 (2008 dollars) per person. A family—are we still allowed to use that word? or is it “bigoted”—of four sucks up, on average, $48,000. Well, that money isn’t spread evenly, of course. Those that have get more. Those that have more are those companies which do business with the government; and this isn’t solely military contractors, but universities, hospitals, TSA/NSA suppliers, and so forth.
Don’t let’s forget the deficits remain and are projected to remain. The debt therefore must increase. The closest most politicians come to fixing this problem is to acknowledge the problem might exist. The nearest most citizens come to fixing it is to say, “What debt? I want more.”
All this being true, it becomes a matter of fun to make projections. Simply lining a ruler up to the plot and continuing the line doesn’t seem far wrong. But that doesn’t account for the occult feedback. I’m guessing there will come a year which finds us at an inflection point, where the graph begins a rapid, perhaps even astronomical, increase. This is when we embrace full socialism.
Since that word is anathema to most Americans, we’ll call it something else, just as progressive historians are anxious to paint the National Socialists of Germany as non-socialists. Whatever cosmetic fix is discovered, it seems clear that unless there is outside intervention (war? true pandemic? meteor?) socialism must come.
What do you think?