Sunday, 15 January 2012

Obama to shrink government?

BBC News reports

US President Barack Obama has laid down the gauntlet to Republicans by asking Congress for the power to shrink the federal government.

He told business leaders that he wants to close the US commerce department and merge six agencies.

The White House said the plan would save $3bn (£2bn) over 10 years and cut 1,000 to 2,000 jobs through attrition.

The proposal is seen as an attempt to counter Republican criticisms that Mr Obama is a big-government liberal.

Let's put that in context. $3bn over 10 years is $300 million a year. That's a lot of money to you and me, and I'm sure it would be a good idea for those savings to be made. But every year American government agencies spend $6 trillion (6000 billion; 6 million million).

What's 300 next to 6 million? The proposed savings amount to 0.005% of total expenditure. Is this really newsworthy? If it's truly an attempt "to counter Republican criticisms that Mr Obama is a big-government liberal", is it anything but laughable? Can the insignificance of this proposal really be lost on the journalists and editors at the BBC?

Some of that spending is out of Obama's control, but the federal government burns through over half of the total: $3.52 trillion in 2009:

300 out of 3.52 million is still utterly insignficant: less than 0.01%. In failing to point this out, BBC News is either grossly incompetent, or staggeringly disingenuous.

Let's have a look at US public spending in a historical context :

The various levels of government in the US spend over 5 times as much today, in real terms, as they did in 1965.

Federal government spending leapt from 523.18 billion 2005$ in 1960 to $3193.90 billion 2005$ in 2011 — a 6-fold increase in real terms.

Anyone who was truly serious about cutting the size of the federal government would be talking about trillions, not billions or millions.


  1. The BBC sing from the same hymn sheet as Obama, along with the RINO's. It's all one big stitch up, a bit like the situation here and in the Eu. In fact, if there wasn't a "new world order" conspiracy theory, I'd feel obliged to invent one.

    1. Indeed. I do try to be mindful of Hanlon's Razor ("cock-up before conspiracy"), but sometimes it's not easy.