Biggest budget cut, hell no
Största “budget cut” i historien fick vi lära oss i fredags, med minuter kvar till att regeringen skulle stängas ner. Politiker kan just politik, men vad gömmer sig bakom dessa siffror. Absoluta tal är som bekant irrelevanta fakta. Vad är stort, hur långt är ett snöre etc är alla irrelevanta mått. Saker och ting måste ställas i relation till andra fakta. Nedan lite tankar från Washington Post.
“For instance, during World War II, the federal budget soared from $9.4 billion in 1940 to nearly $93 billion in 1945. Talk about an expansion of government! But then in 1946, the budget was cut to $55 billion. That’s a cut of $37 billion, technically less than the $38.5 billion in cuts reached last week. But it’s also a cut of 40 percent, which means it is 40 times larger than the deal that is routinely described as historic.
The budget kept falling for a number of years after World War II. It dropped to $34 billion in 1947, a cut of 38 percent. Then the next year it fell to just under $30 billion, a cut of 14 percent. (There were also cuts of 66 percent, 20 percent and 35 percent, respectively, in the three years after the end of World War I.)
Raw dollars, of course, don’t tell the whole story either. Between 1954 and 1955, government spending fell from $70.9 billion to $68.4 billion. That may not sound like much but it’s still a decline of 3.5 percent, or three times more than this deal. But when the dollars are translated to constant dollars (fiscal 2005, the standard used in the White House budget), the cuts swell to $55 billion, which would be a cut of 9 percent. By either standard, that’s much larger than the current agreement.
You can also measure the budget as a percentage of the national economy, known as gross domestic product. The budget deal appears to be a cut of about 0.25 percent of the estimated GDP this year. We count 24 years since 1940 when government spending as a share of the economy fell by that amount or more, though of course this figure depends not only on cutting spending but whether the economy is growing.” (WP)