Sesame Street Math for Grover (Norquist)
Beyond the hypocrisy coming from the king of pork, Grover Norquist, I’m struggling with the advanced mathematics that must be implicit in this statement:
If spending increased only as a percentage of national income since 2001, the federal government would have a $20 billion budget surplus (not a $296 billion deficit) in fiscal year 2006. Moreover, the country would never have reached surplus in the late 1990s if spending equaled national income. The surplus resulted because spending was actually lower than national income during that time period.
OK, I know he should have referred to the growth in Federal spending matching the growth in GDP. Federal spending as a share of GDP was 19.0% during calendar year 2000 as compared to 20.4% during calendar year 2005. Since GDP was just under $12.5 trillion, my calculator – which must not be Sesame Street approved – tells me that the increase in the ratio of Federal spending to GDP accounts for only $180 billion of the increase in the deficit as being portrayed in terms of the unified deficit.
I know CalculatedRisk wants to jump in here and say something about the General Fund deficit, but could someone who dares get inside the brain of Grover Norquist explain to me how $180 billion become $316 billion?
I wonder if this character might help us out here?!
Update: AB reader cactus keeps telling me to use OMB figures based on fiscal years rather than BEA figures based on calendar years. As I go to the link provided by cactus, I think I discover how Norquist is getting his spin. Consider the following outlay to GDP figures by fiscal year:
18.4% for 2000
18.5% for 2001
20.1% for 2005
20.8% for 2006-PROJECTED
20.1% for 2007-projected
So Norquist’s math is not based on actual spending but one of those infamous OMB forecasts. But maybe this forecast will be on the mark given how badly things are going in Iraq etc. Of course, Norquist is pretending that spending will continue to be this high even as the OMB projection is for outlays to drop back to 20.1% of GDP for fiscal year. We should also mention that the “surge” in tax revenues had transitional elements that will not likely re-occur next year either.