Robert Samuelson and Jeffrey Sachs on the budget
…government is slowly growing larger while — in many basic functions — it’s being strangled. This paradox, it seems, will be Obama’s questionable legacy.
President Barack Obama’s budget this week makes clear the real political equilibrium in the US. The federal government is shrinking. Discretionary spending in the new Obama budget would shrink to 4.9 per cent of gross domestic product in 2023, compared with 7.9 per cent of GDP in 2008. Both parties have signed on to this shrinkage. Neither will try to stop it.
Both over-personalize the result in the figure of President Obama. For reasons of mood affiliation, one calls it government growth and the other calls it government shrinkage, drawing on the same numbers. And both are basically correct.
Addendum: David Brooks weighs in on the same topic.