Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Four Decades of Deficit Spending

The following chart shows how much more the government spends than it brings in.

Click to enlarge.

Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. - Alan Greenspan (1966)

See Also:
Twin Peaks (Musical Tribute)

Source Data:
St. Louis Fed: Federal Government Current Receipts
St. Louis Fed: Current Expenditures


Mr Slippery said...


That is an awesome and terrifying chart. Thanks!

It looks like spending is not going to come down as fast as it did from the 1970s oil shock and Vietnam. Our wars last forever and our entitlements and debts only get bigger.

I wonder how the country would change if we were forced to have a balanced budget next year.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Mr Slippery,

I wonder how the country would change if we were forced to have a balanced budget next year.

Horror! Brace for some sarcasm.

Our economy is clearly too fragile to tackle the long-term deficit problem right now.


I wish I could say when we could tackle it. It's tough to make that prediction though. We're in a 40 year rough patch. There's just no telling when we might emerge from it.


Krugman: Obsession with deficit spending could cause depression

Unlike governments of the past, which tried to balance budgets in the face of a plunging economy, today’s governments allowed deficits to rise. And better policies helped the world avoid complete collapse: The recession brought on by the financial crisis arguably ended last summer.

40 years. That's how long we've been using deficit spending to "help" the economy. We'll just have to wait and see how that works out long-term. Say another 40 years?

Anonymous said...


Actually, the whole "recovery" since 2009 is based simply on government debt creation that results in higher government deficits and massive commodity and stock speculation.

But now that Joe and Jane Sixpack are getting back in the market, what could go wrong?


getyourselfconnected said...

The rate of change for the 3rd derivative is getting better though......

Stagflationary Mark said...


From your link:

Healthy Consumer Relying On $1 Trillion Government Fix

What's a trillion dollars per year though? I lost a "quarter" of that in my couch last week. Literally. Sigh.

Stagflationary Mark said...


The rate of change for the 3rd derivative is getting better though......

BAH! You don't want to see me run a high order polynomial trend line through that data. Trust me on this one! Sigh.

And when I say "BAH!" I am referring to the "Basic Allowance for Housing" of course. I am not intending to exclaim a feeling of hopelessness. Any hopelessness is merely a bonus.

Charles Kiting said...

The majority of the population hasn't lived in a time when the government was spending within its means.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Charles Kiting,

They say we get the government we deserve. I'm tempted to wonder if the majority of the population spends within its means (once potential future despair is factored in anyway).

Charles Kiting said...

Mark, I've wondered that too.

"Hope and change" meant "I hope YOU will change because I don't want to."

Stagflationary Mark said...

Charles Kiting,

A paraphrased World War II military joke my dad used to say:

Men, I promised you a *change* of underwear. Today's the day. Fred, from now on you'll be wearing Tom's underwear. Tom, you'll be wearing Tim's....