November 15, 2003

Why Are We Ruled by These Idiots? CCXVII

George W. Bush, winning friends and influencing people once again:

Photo Op Becomes an Oops (washingtonpost.com): President Bush on Wednesday presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, Isle of Islay, Scotland. "I've been honored to host Lord Robertson here at the White House many times over the past three years," Bush said. "I'm grateful that he's come once more before he leaves his post."

But then the ghosts of OMB Director Bert Lance talking about his pal "Al" Kahn -- whose name is Alfred and whom everyone calls "Fred" -- drifted into the room. Bush seemed to be saying "Lord Robinson" was a "patient and determined leader," and "Lord Robinson" was this and that...

Posted by DeLong at November 15, 2003 10:06 AM | TrackBack

Comments

RoBERTson! RoBERTson!!! omygawd. <blush/>

Posted by: Frank Wilhoit on November 15, 2003 12:28 PM

____

Isn't this the more interesting story? Everyone knows Bush is a maroon, but the contrast with real class is the eye-opener.

"CNN's Wolf Blitzer interviewed Robertson yesterday. After dispensing with all that boring "Whither NATO?" stuff, Blitzer got to the point:

"Lord Robertson, congratulations on receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom yesterday in the White House," Blitzer said. "Did you notice, though, that the president kept calling you Lord Robinson?"

"No, he didn't really," Robertson said, elevating spin control to an art form. "It is just the way that a Texan pronounces Robertson. Not everybody can be as perfect in the Scottish vernacular as a Scot can be. So the president knows me, he knows my name, and I'm deeply honored by the decision that he took."

Another reason they call him "Lord." "

Posted by: 537 votes on November 15, 2003 12:37 PM

____

Prof. DeLong

We are ruled by these liars/idiots because many, many, many people fear the alternative. Believe it or not (most likely *not*), there are a lot of people in America who are deathly afraid to see the economy catch Eurosclerosis. We don't want to see the tax to GDP ratio rise much above 30%. We face a brutal tradeoff between individual opportunity and equity. You seem to think that most people are okay with paying a huge price to make America more egalitarian. This just isn't true.

Krugman once wrote that people who didn't know where they'd end up in the income/wealth distribution in America wouldn't want to live here. And yet millions of immigrants are clamoring to get in, the vast majority *knowing* that they'll land in the bottom--at first, anyway.

Perhaps most people are deluded into thinking that they'll end up wealthier than they actually will, but many people make large gambles when the odds of success are against them. No matter how many times they're told the odds are against them. For every kid who realizes his dream of playing in the NBA, there are 10,000 others who don't. Deluded or not, there are plenty of people around them who make an honest effort to explain the odds to them.

When given the option between a guaranteed income between, say, $25K and $50K, and the possibility of becoming wealthy with no such lower bound guarantee on income, you would probably be stunned by the number of people who would choose the riskier bet.

Individual opportunity may not be a high priority to you, but other people have other opinions.

Even if Bush loses in 2004, millions will vote for him because they fear that Democrats will move the country toward the equity side of the tradeoff curve and draw the curtain on the American Dream.

Posted by: Ann Nonymus on November 15, 2003 01:06 PM

____

Even if Bush loses in 2004, millions will vote for him because they fear that Democrats will move the country toward the equity side of the tradeoff curve and draw the curtain on the American Dream.

Just like those dreadful Clinton years!

Posted by: WillieStyle on November 15, 2003 01:36 PM

____

WillieStyle wrote, "Just like those dreadful Clinton years!"

Reminds me of that _Onion_ headline: "Bush: Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity Is Finally Over."

Posted by: Stephen J Fromm on November 15, 2003 01:52 PM

____

Ann: you are simplistic in your assessment. Since when has anyone been given a choice of a guaranteed $25k to $50k job or the chance for millions? This isn't a guaranty. I really love all these conservatives who act like they made it on their own. Especially those who went to public schools and public colleges and those who get government loans to go to college or subsidies to start businesses. I particularly like farmers who bitch about funding headstart when their wealth comes from genocide of the Indians and the homestead act giving land away and monumentally inefficient subsidies and price props in many instances. Oh, and there are those GI Bill old hawks who want low taxes so support the President limiting death benefits to Iraq war soldiers. Hypocrits all. We are all part of the social contract. The money is not "mine." It is a store of wealth from a government fiat that has a large part of its intrinsic value from the fact that we have a realitively stable society that pays its debts (but this is coming in doubt with the deficits we are running up). Sure I'd like to keep as much as possible if the value is maintained because we have a well ordered and just civil society. But having a well ordered and just civil society -- that ensures the value of the money -- then it costs. That's what the debate is about: what is a well ordered and just civil society.

Posted by: Cal on November 15, 2003 01:54 PM

____

Dear, dear, I really find it hard to think that a Democratic President would end the American dream. Where-ever does such nonsense come from?

Posted by: lise on November 15, 2003 02:48 PM

____

"Just like those dreadful Clinton years!"

It's a matter of record that government spending as a share of GDP declined a bit during the Clinton years. Part of that was Republican obstructionism in Congress. I also believe that Clinton eventually decided that balancing the budget was a good idea, but not before spending a lot of time watching the Republicans slaughter his early spending proposals.

I believe both Krugman and DeLong have acknowledged that the 90's boom was more the result of luck than Clinton's policies. It's implausible that the economy would have performed as well without the stock market bubble.

In any case, no matter how one fiddles with the particulars, there *is* a tradeoff here. We can increase the size of the public sector to 40% or 50% of GDP, and life will go on. But it's intellectually dishonest to pretend that such a policy change won't throw many people out of work and diminish the prosperity of the nation our children inherit, no matter how that policy change is effected.

It's no accident that there hasn't been any growth in private sector jobs in Europe since 1973. That's simply the price they pay for statism. It's a price they appear willing to pay. If America's electorate becomes willing to pay that price, too, fine. We'll get more welfare state spending. But that hasn't happened yet, and it doesn't seem likely to happen in the future. America has done a great job of sucking in the world's individualists. I believe this process is self-reinforcing. America is clearly a more attractive place for individualists than it is for collectivists.

Posted by: Ann Nonymus on November 15, 2003 02:53 PM

____

Well argued, but please. We will be increasingly thankful to have had such splendid fiscal policy during the Clinton years. Wish we did not have such awful fiscal policy since.

Posted by: lise on November 15, 2003 03:10 PM

____

Who Needs Government???

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/16/national/16INSU.html?hp

In the Middle Class, More Are Deprived Of Health Insurance
By STEPHANIE STROM

DALLAS — The last time Kevin Thornton had health insurance was three years ago, which was not much of a problem until he began having trouble swallowing.

"I broke down earlier this year and went in and talked to a doctor about it," said Mr. Thornton, who lives in Sherman, about 60 miles north of Dallas.

A barium X-ray cost him $130, and the radiologist another $70, expenses he charged to his credit cards. The doctor ordered other tests that Mr. Thornton simply could not afford.

"I was supposed to go back after the X-ray results came, but I decided just to live with it for a while," he said. "I may just be a walking time bomb."

Posted by: anne on November 15, 2003 03:28 PM

____

Could we get back on the topic.

People that mistake the name Robinson for Robertson (repeatedly) are by and large mental incompetents. I have conducted this study for several decades and would be glad to share by data.

Posted by: Andrew Robertson on November 15, 2003 04:15 PM

____

How does this ideological spewing make me any more happy to be ruled by an Administration that lies constantly to justify its blatant wealth transfer from the rest of us to Bush's friends and business partners? Im no economist, but I think ann is full of shit.

Posted by: chris on November 15, 2003 04:16 PM

____

A rainy saturday in southern california, and a lawyer who really should be reading briefs decides to play with the search function on brad's website.

Just how did we get to part CCXVII of being ruled by idiots? let's see. [a blank following the score means ruled by "idiots"]

October 28, 2002 -- unscored (by "people")
October 31, 2002 -- unscored
January 18, 2003 -- unscored (by "cretins")
February 4, 2003 -- unscored (by "fools")
February 5, 2003 -- unscored (by "fools")
May 15, 2003 -- CXI (111)
June 2, 2003 -- CXII (112)
July 7, 2003 (1st post) -- CCXIII (213)
July 7, 2003 (2nd post) -- CCXIV (214)
July 7, 2003 (3rd post) -- CCXV (215)
July 22, 2003 -- CCXVI (216)
August 11, 2003 -- unscored (by "liars")
September 14, 2003 -- unscored (by "liars")
September 17, 2003 -- unscored (by "liars")
October 27, 2003 -- CCCXXII (322) (by "fools")
October 27, 2003 (2nd post) -- CCCXXIII (323) (by "fools")
November 3, 2003 -- CCCXXIV (324) (by "fools")
November 4, 2003 -- CCCXXV (325) (by "fools")
November 6, 2003 -- CCCXXVI (326)(by "fools")
November 10, 2003 -- CCCXXVII (327) (by "fools")
November 13, 2003 -- CCXXIV (224) (by "liars")
November 14, 2003 -- CCXXV (225) (by "liars")
November 15, 2003 -- CCXVII (217)

Any explanation, professor? I'm not getting anywhere trying to find a deeper meaning.

cheers.

Posted by: FDL on November 15, 2003 04:26 PM

____

For the record, lise, I don't believe a Democratic president will end the American Dream. It would take a true leftist to do that, and true leftists aren't electable in America. Even if America becomes much more statist in the future (like Britain after WWII), I doubt it would last. Someone channeling Margaret Thatcher would come in and undo it all.

The question is not whether inequality is undesirable or not. The question is: how much damage should we be willing to inflict upon the economy in order to mitigate it? And I say *mitigate* advisedly, because even Europe hasn't been able to beat back the demons of inequality completely. Inequality has simply increased less. The world economy became incredibly hostile to egalitarian ideals beginning in the mid-1970's, and we have to learn to live with that, one way or another.

The decision to pick one point on the tradeoff curve as opposed to another has nothing to do with logic. There is no right or wrong answer here. We prioritize these things on the basis of emotion, and the choice America makes is a reflection of the national character. I don't think it does us any good to pretend that the tradeoff doesn't exist, or that anyone who gives equity a relatively higher or lower priority is stupid or evil or psychotic.

Posted by: Ann Nonymus on November 15, 2003 04:48 PM

____

(My first post having disappeared... )

My hypothesis is that the mispronunciation was subconsciously intentional. Mr. Bush has no respect for George Robertson. Neither do Mr. Bush's people. Mr. Bush's most conspicuous gift--and it is VERY conspicuous, indeed--is to serve as the perfect figurehead and mouthpiece for his people. He has been doing this so long and so well that he need not make any conscious effort to do what is expected of him: it comes naturally.

The requirement being to send some subliminal signal of contempt, I think the imaginative leap to mispronouncing the name--only one of several possible options, but arguably the most idiomatic--was instantaneous and instinctive.

It would be much more informative and productive to pay no further attention to Mr. Bush but instead consider his constituents, for he does and says nothing more, less or other than what they require of him.

Posted by: Frank Wilhoit on November 15, 2003 05:28 PM

____

Ann Nonymus, I'd like a clarification: are you saying that many people prefer Republicans over Democrats, in general, on economic issues, because Republicans stand for efficiency and Democrats for equity, and the values of most Americans are also more oriented toward the efficiency side of things, and since they assume that Bush is close to an archetypal Republican, and whoever the Democrat is will be close to an archetypal Democrat, they'd prefer Bush?

Or are you saying that in actual reality -- not just public perception -- the tradeoff between Bush and whoever is the Democrat is likely to be efficiency vs. equity?

If you're making the first case, then I think it's entirely possible you're right. I'm not sure, but I have many friends who basically think trying to reduce income inequality is basically not worth it if it involves loss of efficiency.

If you're making the second case, though, unless Gephardt or one of the rather extreme left candidates is the Democratic nominee, I find it hard to believe that the candidate would be worse than Bush from an efficiency OR equity standpoint.

Also, I'm on far shakier grounds here, but I might question the notion that the same processes that are good for economic growth are good for inequality in the first place. If you trust the CIA World Factbook's numbers, the correlation coefficient of Gini Coefficient to per capita GDP is -0.45. The U.S. is more unequal than the countries of Western Europe and Japan (with whom it is usually grouped), and it is also richer, but the U.S. also happens to be an outlier in this respect. Other countries with nearly-comparable per-capita wealth are more equal than the U.S., and other countries with comparable inequality are much poorer. Naturally, I'm ignoring the fact of historical, geographical, and social differences among all of the countries: for example, the center of sub-Saharan Africa, as a region, is both quite poor and quite unequal, but this has a lot more to do with historical and social factors than government policy. However, glib comparisons between the U.S. and, say, Sweden also ignore such factors. It's not as if in 1900, Sweden and the U.S. were on a level playing field, then Sweden chose equity and the U.S. chose efficiency: immigrants from impoverished Sweden were already swarming to the U.S., like my mother's mother's parents. I don't have any facts here, but I suspect that, proportionally, the gap between Western Europe and the U.S. has narrowed until, maybe, the 1990s. In the case of Japan, I'm essentially certain that this is the case.

Posted by: Julian Elson on November 15, 2003 06:37 PM

____

Ann Nonymus, I'd like a clarification: are you saying that many people prefer Republicans over Democrats, in general, on economic issues, because Republicans stand for efficiency and Democrats for equity, and the values of most Americans are also more oriented toward the efficiency side of things, and since they assume that Bush is close to an archetypal Republican, and whoever the Democrat is will be close to an archetypal Democrat, they'd prefer Bush?

Or are you saying that in actual reality -- not just public perception -- the tradeoff between Bush and whoever is the Democrat is likely to be efficiency vs. equity?

If you're making the first case, then I think it's entirely possible you're right. I'm not sure, but I have many friends who basically think trying to reduce income inequality is basically not worth it if it involves loss of efficiency.

If you're making the second case, though, unless Gephardt or one of the rather extreme left candidates is the Democratic nominee, I find it hard to believe that the candidate would be worse than Bush from an efficiency OR equity standpoint.

Also, I'm on far shakier grounds here, but I might question the notion that the same processes that are good for economic growth are good for inequality in the first place. If you trust the CIA World Factbook's numbers, the correlation coefficient of Gini Coefficient to per capita GDP is -0.45. The U.S. is more unequal than the countries of Western Europe and Japan (with whom it is usually grouped), and it is also richer, but the U.S. also happens to be an outlier in this respect. Other countries with nearly-comparable per-capita wealth are more equal than the U.S., and other countries with comparable inequality are much poorer. Naturally, I'm ignoring the fact of historical, geographical, and social differences among all of the countries: for example, the center of sub-Saharan Africa, as a region, is both quite poor and quite unequal, but this has a lot more to do with historical and social factors than government policy. However, glib comparisons between the U.S. and, say, Sweden also ignore such factors. It's not as if in 1900, Sweden and the U.S. were on a level playing field, then Sweden chose equity and the U.S. chose efficiency: immigrants from impoverished Sweden were already swarming to the U.S., like my mother's mother's parents. I don't have any facts here, but I suspect that, proportionally, the gap between Western Europe and the U.S. has narrowed until, maybe, the 1990s. In the case of Japan, I'm essentially certain that this is the case.

Posted by: Julian Elson on November 15, 2003 06:40 PM

____

Mr. Nonymus:
I don't understand why you pose the tradeoff the way you do.
Following what I, as a non-economist, understand to be the conventional wistom, I think that undermining the fiscal integrity of government is damaging to the economy. Bush has done that in order to give lower taxes to the wealthy. Therefore, I would pose the Bush vs. Democrat question as "How much damage to the ecomony are we willing to endure in order to increase inequality?"
Why do you assume that the Democrats will produce Eurosclerosis? What policies advocated by any actual candidate would tend in that direction? I don't see any; but apparently many people think as you do, and I'd like to understand why.
This is a real question, not an attempt at sarcasm. I'd appreciate any illumination.

Posted by: Jonathan Goldberg on November 15, 2003 06:52 PM

____

Mr. Nonymus:
I don't understand why you pose the tradeoff the way you do.
Following what I, as a non-economist, understand to be the conventional wistom, I think that undermining the fiscal integrity of government is damaging to the economy. Bush has done that in order to give lower taxes to the wealthy. Therefore, I would pose the Bush vs. Democrat question as "How much damage to the ecomony are we willing to endure in order to increase inequality?"
Why do you assume that the Democrats will produce Eurosclerosis? What policies advocated by any actual candidate would tend in that direction? I don't see any; but apparently many people think as you do, and I'd like to understand why.
This is a real question, not an attempt at sarcasm. I'd appreciate any illumination.

Posted by: Jonathan Goldberg on November 15, 2003 06:57 PM

____

The "transcript" turns the "Robinsons" back into "Robertsons"...

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/11/20031112-1.html

Posted by: Brad DeLong on November 15, 2003 08:06 PM

____

Bacause Gore has the charisma of a wet noodle.

Hey, you asked.

Posted by: on November 16, 2003 01:20 AM

____

Julian, I'm making the first case. I believe the composition of Congress is a bit more important than the party affiliation of the President. But that's just my opinion.

I don't believe that the things which cause fast economic growth *must* cause inequality. The post-WWII boom was an unusually equitable one, but it was just that: unusual. Even though it lasted almost thirty years, I believe it was an anomaly which may not be repeated. It appears to have been completely unprecedented. This leads to the unhappy conclusion that the middle class which grew in the 1950s and 60s was an anomaly, too.

I reject the notion that policy actions created the equitable prosperity of the Thirty Glorious Years. The prosperity set in all over the industrialized world at nearly the same time, and it ended at the same time, too: in the year 1973, to be exact. This happened despite very different policy regimes in the countries involved.

Maybe there will be another equitable prosperity in the future. If there is, I'm absolutely certain that economic policy will have nothing to do with it. It's a matter of luck.

In the here and now, though, this is the reality: we face a tradeoff which is much less favorable than it used to be. Since 1973, we've had less prosperity *and* less equity. Europe responded with more wealth redistribution. The consequences of that choice include horrifically low job creation numbers and the forfeiture of leading-edge status in advanced research and technology industries. The pharmaceutical industries of Germany and France are obvious examples of this decline. And consider the number of major inventions to have come out of Continental Europe since 1945. There have been a few, but America is clearly more fertile in this regard. Britain, too, since Thatcher's reforms.

America responded to the worsening tradeoff by reducing wealth redistribution. This was no accident. Individualists have a powerful incentive to go to America, and collectivists have a powerful incentive to stay away. This sort of thing was bound to change the electorate eventually. The price we pay for this choice is a greater increase in inequality than that which Europe endures. It has been severe enough to cause the poverty rate to drift up from its low in 1973.

I believe that a better conceived welfare state could make the tradeoff more favorable, but only marginally so. It really comes down to the size of the public sector in the end, and the American electorate will have to move pretty far to the left to get it much over 30% of GDP. For reasons I stated earlier, I think that is implausible.

Posted by: Ann Nonymus on November 16, 2003 02:06 AM

____

Jonathan, I admit I was speaking in generalities. In the long run, voting in Republicans means a smaller public sector and voting in Democrats means a larger public sector. As for Bush . . . well, I voted for Gore, so don't blame me. I'm a moderate.

For now, with the sorry state of capacity utilization, a gigantic deficit is barely large enough. I think it ought to be several hundred billion dollars larger. However, one of the little-known facts about Keynesian stimulus through deficit spending is that the effects wear off and GDP and employment return to trend. In other words, boosting growth with deficits now means slower growth later on than would otherwise be the case. It can only smooth out the business cycle, augmenting growth during the slump and reducing it during the recovery. When the slump ends, GDP and employment will be the same whether there was stimulus or not. I sometimes wonder if the stimulus package was parsimonious because of the hope that it would lead to a more violent snap-back in employment later. Under normal circumstances, that is what would happen, but I'm not so sure now. The behavior of the economy has turned very strange, as Prof. DeLong has noted many times, and it can't be plausibly blamed on Bush policy.

As for the claim that the Bush stimulus package was not as stimulative as it could have been, I challenge anyone to run it and the Democrats' stimulus packages through reputable econometric models and find a difference in the unemployment rate outside the models' margins of error. The rich have a marginal propensity to consume almost as large as the poor, like it or not. And the packages just weren't big enough to make much of a difference anyway. The inegalitarian nature of the tax cuts is a separate issue.

If productivity growth continues to explode beyond the Fed's ability to accommodate it with demand growth, Bush is completely screwed. But let's assume for a second that the economy begins to behave in a less abnormal way and it reaches full employment in, say, 2005. By that time the deficit-reduction debate will be in full swing. And herein lies the problem with Bush's stimulus package, as opposed to the Democratic alternatives. In my humble opinion, Prof. DeLong's problem with the package is political, not economic. Even though he would probably agree that temporary tax cuts are less stimulative than permanent ones, he preferred the Democratic plans because they included automatic tax increases. The loss of stimulus effect is a price I think he'd be willing to pay for the benefit of being able to short-circuit the deficit-reduction debate Bush has now made inevitable, assuming the slump actually ends in time for his reelection. If the debate occurs, the electorate will have a chance to get involved and make the "wrong" choice. The "wrong" choice being spending cuts. If automatic tax increases eliminated the deficit, spending cuts would be a remote short-term possibility.

I don't think it's fair to lay blame for structural deficits on just one person. They are the fallout of the impasse between Republicans and Democrats over the size of government. If either party had enough power to make all the fiscal policy changes they wanted, the deficit would disappear.

To your final questions, I don't believe that the Democrats will ever produce Eurosclerosis in America because they're unlikely to get a supermajority in Congress, and I think that's what it would take. But if they did, the public sector would grow. There's no question about that. We will have to pay the price if that happens. Maybe not in exactly the way Europe has, but there's no free lunch. Something will have to give. My guess is that the job market will be damaged the most, but we won't know for sure unless it actually happens.

Posted by: Ann Nonymus on November 16, 2003 02:14 AM

____

Could we catch the Dutch disease?
Please?

Posted by: Invigilator on November 16, 2003 02:16 PM

____

We need to listen to Ann Nonymus. She (?) has swallowed a load of rhetoric whole, and we could benefit from figuring out why. The first bit of evidence is the notion that taxes are likely to run toward 30% of GDP under a Democrat. Since government outlays as a share of GDP have run below 24% every hear since 1945, and taxes are mostly just to pay for outlays (unless you have a boatload of debt to pay down – maybe Ann is worried that we’ll stop running massive deficits), the notion that Democrats will suddenly goose taxes up to 30% of GDP seems odd (should have kept reading – make that public sector at 40%-50% of GDP – and Ann is slinging around terms like “intellectually dishonest”?).

But that’s just the point. Why does somebody who has detailed opinions (such as that Democrats like Clinton and Gore and Lieberman and – until he decided to run for mayor – gabillionaire Mike Bloomberg hate “opportunity”) swallow a load of rhetoric so willingly? How can they maintain views so far removed from fact so passionately?

For starters, there is a vast money-making conspiracy to producing “news” and “opinion” shows with hosts meant to sound like a guy sitting on a bar-stool (“wrong!” “shut up!”). Those shows tend to cater to conservative views. This conspiracy is abetted by the parallel right-wing conspiracy to substitute vitriol for thought and vilify anybody who takes a stand against a right-wing issue. We can’t do anything about either of these things, but there seems to be a third factor. The guys Ann seems afraid of are pretty scary, sometimes. Trade-hating is not good. Not saying whether you’re for staying in Iraq or getting out is pretty worrying.

That said, rolling back unfair tax cuts in a country that is faced with massive deficits and enjoys very low marginal tax rates makes sense, and that seems Ann’s biggest concern. So we can’t fix what’s broken in this specific case. Ann is just on the wrong pony, and doesn’t seem to want to get off. But it should be possible for Democrats to point to strength on national security (the Department of Homeland Security was a Democrat idea, though the awful name was not: beefing up airport security without turning it over to the private (cost minimizing) sector was a Democrat idea), economic policy (near-term tax rebates were a Democrat idea – and worked in Q3 at very least - while ruinous tax cuts over the long haul that the general public did not and still does not want at the cost of shoring up popular social programs and paring the deficit were a Republican idea), support for social programs (Medicare drug benefit was a Democrat idea) – the list goes on. Why are Democrats not running on a very good record on a set of issues that have pretty good traction right now? Why are Democrat wannabees offering trade protection, sometimes weaselly criticism of the war, and beating each other up, pretty much full time?

Posted by: K Harris on November 17, 2003 10:25 AM

____

"We need to listen to Ann Nonymus. She (?) has swallowed a load of rhetoric whole, and we could benefit from figuring out why."

Demeaning me flatters people who share your ideological preconceptions, but it's not the same thing as listening to me.

If I'm unreasonable to believe that the public sector will grow to over 30% of GDP, then Prof. DeLong is equally unreasonable. This January he wrote:

"the existence of the baby-boom generation, rising medical costs, and the belief that everyone ought to be able to see a doctor together more-or-less force federal government spending up from its current twenty percent or so of GDP to somewhere between twenty-five and thirty percent over the next generation."

State and local government spending make up about 10% of GDP. Unless that changes drastically, federal spending of 25% to 30% of GDP will push total government spending up to 35% to 40% of GDP. In the long run, it seems pretty unlikely that taxes will remain below 30% of GDP in such a scenario. And the possibility of an American public sector that makes up 40% of GDP, which you dismiss out of hand as mere rhetoric, seems pretty consistent with Prof. DeLong's scenario.

Posted by: Ann Nonymus on November 17, 2003 03:57 PM

____

Now, Ann, you seem a little insecure. How did we got to a discussion on fiscal policy from a mix-up of Robinson and Robertson? ¿Maybe a bit overanxious to defend George W.?

Posted by: Carlos on November 17, 2003 08:38 PM

____

Carlos, as I indicated earlier, I voted for Gore. I'm just trying to explain why so many people voted for Bush, despite his obvious weaknesses. Evidently, my explanation offended some people. That's life.

Posted by: Ann Nonymus on November 17, 2003 10:29 PM

____

Lies are only a problem when you believe them.

Posted by: Baty Janna on December 10, 2003 04:20 PM

____

Post a comment
















__