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View Diary: Question for wonks: what is the best measure of government spending as % of GDP (13 comments)

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  •  I got 35.8% for 2012 Q3 (1+ / 0-)
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    $5,661B total government (table 3.1)

    $15,811B GDP

    And 24.5% for Federal (table 3.2)

    which is similar to the Polifact number.

    •  That's interesting. I was NOT using Table 3.2. (1+ / 0-)
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      I was using Table 1.1.5. taking line 21 (Govt consumption expenditures and gross investment) and dividing it by line 1(GDP).

      It is a much smaller number.

      What is contained in your number that is missing from mine?

      •  social security and interest, mainly (0+ / 0-)

        There's a note at BEA: BEA seems to have several different measures of government spending

        Total spending by government is much larger than the spending included in GDP.  Current expenditures measures all spending by government on current-period activities, and consists not only of government consumption expenditures, but also current transfer payments, interest payments, and subsidies (and removes wage accruals less disbursements).  Payments such as transfer payments and interest payments are excluded from the calculation of GDP because these payments do not represent purchases of goods and services, though income from transfer and interest payments may fund consumption expenditures or investment in other sectors of the economy.
        They seem to be saying that the 35% calculation is an apples-to-oranges comparison. I think because the transfer payments aren't production(?) I'm not sure.

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