Thursday, February 19, 2009

We're all spendthrifts now

Who would've thought? Federal government spending has been increasing almost exponentially over the last few decades. However, sometimes a graph is necessary to show how bad things actually are:

Two details are especially intriguing:
1) In 1971, President Nixon went off the Bretton Woods system which was the last vestige of the former gold standard. In this system, foreign countries used the US dollar as a reserve currency while the dollar itself was bound to a a gold exchange rate. That way, there was a last, albeit weak obligation to fiscal sanity left which prevented governments (especially the US government) from printing money and spending madly. Unsurprisingly, once this had been abolished, spending went through the roof almost immediately.
2) The graph ends in 2003. Iraq War, bailout and stimulus package would've lengthened the axis of ordinates quite a bit.

(source: Political Class Dismissed)

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