Considering how many (including you) have lamented that corporate profits are “so high” and comprising “so much of GDP” (it’s about 11% now, down from about 15% in the 1950’s), it is kind of ridiculous to claim that govt hasn’t grown much.
I am not aware that I have complained about corporate profits lately, or pretty much ever, actually. But if you have a link I’d be glad to acknowledge.
Apparently you didn’t look closely enough at your own chart. From your chart, Federal govt spending in 1950 was 14.2%, and now is 24.12% of GDP. That’s quite a big change.
Federal spending in the 50’s (I am sorry if I misled you to a specific data point in 1950) was in the high teens. It is now in the low 20’s (excluding outlier periods.) That, to me, is not a monumental change given the world we live in.
Furthermore, when you claim that growing government causes “increases in efficiency”, wouldn’t the numbers show that overall?
Sure. But I have never claimed that ALL government spending increases efficiency, just a lot of it. The Erie Canal. Interstate highways. Hoover Dam. DARPA. NASA. Medical research. Early investments in microprocessor technology. Land Grant Colleges. FDA Drug regulation. Food safety. Air pollution control. Access to higher education. Expanding foreign markets. Panama Canal. Financial regulation. Aviation safety.
There are others which are hard to quantify, but I would add those laws which require equal treatment of human beings, i.e. anti discrimination, and the like as help build the human capital of the country by include minorities and women.
(I understand that you will be able to pick off a few of those with horrible examples and say “Oh yeah? What about this!” but please don’t bother, we all know nothing is perfect, and we have all seen the road crew of four leaning on their shovels while ostensibly building a road.)
Increasing efficiency means that growing government by 1% of GDP would cause GDP to grow by more than 1% and thus government as a percentage of the whole to decline.
Yes, but there is always more that can be done, and gosh darn it those fools in government try to do that. Roads could be frozen in time, but we keep building more. And wider. And we repaint them more often. We add smarter stoplights to improve traffic flow. You see the cost, but are seem unaware of the benefit.
We keep trying to expand access to higher education, not always successfully, but generally speaking a better educated populace is a good thing. We could have held the number of college attendees at 9% - the number in the 1950’s - instead of 30% where it trended to, but we chose not to and to continue to invest in such apparent nonsense. USDA inspectors help keep you from getting sick, and the CDC helps you stay alive. The EPA keeps poison out of rivers and smoke particulates out of the air. Maybe that didn’t seem important at one time, but now it does.
Yes, there is a point of diminishing returns. We are not there yet. How do I know? I don’t, except that I live in the richest, most powerful country in the history of the planet, and we have one of the lowest tax rates besides. (Yes, we do.)
So I will ask you a hypothetical question. If you were to assume the next 100 years will be similar to the previous 100 years as far as government growth, then we will be close to 75% of GDP at that point. Be honest, would you make the same arguments that you presented here at 75%?
Of course I’ll be honest. You present a ridiculous argument and pretend it’s a legitimate question. You are comparing apples and auto tires. The US was largely an agrarian economy until the census of 1920, when for the first time half the population was living in cities or surrounds. To compare that with what we have today is absurd. But I will say that if there was as large a change in society as from an agrarian society to an urbanized, consumer, mechanized, interconnected, industrial, way of life as is as unimaginable to me as an iPhone would be to an 1890’s farmer, then any and all possibilities remain open, including taxation levels, at least for me. Some people won’t agree, and want to go back to the days before we funded the FBI, space travel, highways, and all the rest. I’m sure people in 1890 couldn’t imagine giving up 30% of their income either. (Some still do: Ted Kaczynski and similar.)
I like where we are and I like where I am. My complaints are few, my luxuries many. I live better than the kings of Europe or the Pharaohs of Egypt.
Why are you so unhappy?