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The refrain that's won the day, apparently, for budget negotiators racing to see who can get the most praise from the Very Serious People for making the most Americans suffer under austerity, is "we having a spending problem." Not to put too fine a point on it: Bullshit.

spending/taxes graph

That's a chart from the Senate Appropriations Committee, making a key point.

Our deficit and debts can be traced to the fact that spending on entitlement programs and defense has shot up, and tax revenues have plummeted to their lowest level in decades. But spending on domestic discretionary programs has grown much more slowly. And, if you correct for inflation, and for growing population, it turns out we're spending exactly the same amount on these programs as we were a full decade ago....

"Although non-defense discretionary spending in nominal dollars has increased, when taking inflation and population growth into account the amount contained in the [2011 budget] represents no increase over what we spent in 2001, a year in which we generated a surplus of $128 billion," said chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) in a prepared statement. "So the right question to ask is: Are we really spending too much on non-defense programs? The answer is clearly no."

...In the wake of the Bush tax cuts, and the Great Recession, tax revenue has fallen through the floor to near-historic lows. As a percentage of GDP, it's fallen 24 percent since 2001, and if you correct for inflation, the government is collecting nearly 20 percent less per person than it was a decade ago. At the same time, the population-adjusted costs of mandatory spending programs—driven by Medicare, including its new prescription drug benefit, and Medicaid—have increased by over 30 percent. And, of course, defense spending has skyrocketed. But if you isolate domestic discretionary programs, a decade later we're spending no more on a per-person basis than we were back then.

What has increased? Health care spending, but at a rate that would have nearly been covered by massive loss of revenue in the past decade. TPM took the numbers from the Committee and "put them in a slightly different context, so you can see by what percentage spending and revenues have risen and fallen on a population adjusted basis over the last decade."

spending/taxes graph

As they say, it clearly shows "what is and is not the culprit of deficits and our supposedly out-of-control spending."

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Comment Preferences

  •  The goal is to give our tax dolars to the wealthy (12+ / 0-)

    and connected.
    If the goal was to spend our tax dollars wisely we'd be in a much better situation.

    This clearly points out the hypocrisy of the deficit hawks.

    They don't want to stop spending, they want to spend everything on themselves.

    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. - Poor Richard's Almanac 1755
    The government exists to protect us from the thugs who got rich ripping off our ancestors. - Mungley 2011

    by mungley on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 10:45:53 AM PDT

  •  Could you get these pie charts (13+ / 0-)

    to one of the handful of vertebrate Democratic legislators in the hopes they might put them to use?
    Seems they need help to stay upright, they're so used to bending over.

  •  If a business lost revenue at a rate like this (10+ / 0-)

    it would close its doors, and the free-marketeers would say, well, looks like those in charge just didn't know how to run the business.

    But since it's the federal government that's lost revenue at such a rate, the same free-marketeers who presided over the loss in revenue want to stay in control and continue bleeding revenue.

    •  Interesting info... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pilotshark, JeffW


      Entitlement spending has increased at a greater rate than even the military. Revenues have dipped. I read that the Bush tax cuts on the wealty only would be 70 billion/yr. On everyone it would be 370 billion/yr.

      So in theory if the Bush tax cuts were never implemented,and military had stayed the same,we would be coming up about 560 billion short this year instead of 1.3 trillion. Realistically,defense was going to go up some after 9/11...something that big does not cause a reaction,but if we had stayed out of Iraq,and concentrated on Afghanistan, it could have bee a lot lower cost than it is right now.

      We do need to the economy to grow,somehow,to get close to a reasonable annual budget deficit. If it was 600 billion in a recession it is probably somewhat acceptable but 300-400 billion is where it needs to settle in average years.

  •  If this case can be easily made why isn't the (9+ / 0-)

    Democrats in congress or the president making that case? I guess I can answer my own question, they're all whores bought by the same corporate masters.  

  •  Yep. (6+ / 0-)

    CitizenX: "If the republicans were in charge GM & Chrysler would be dead and Osama bin Laden would be alive."

    by TomP on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 10:50:13 AM PDT

  •  wrong (4+ / 0-)

    We have an employment problem, not a revenue or a cost problem.  Lost in all this debt ceiling manufactured crisis is that taxes are now 15% of gnp--usually they're at 20%.  Also lost by both parties, time to re-examine free trade agreements--not working out too well.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 10:53:17 AM PDT

  •  What was the effect of the bailouts? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And lending money to the banks at ridiculously low interest?

    •  Honestly, I do (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deep Harm, Loge, sethtriggs

      not see where bailouts were very significant. The Treasury reported their greatest profits ever last year from their various lending programs.
      TARP is basically paid back.
      The GM/Chrysler loans are still about 50 billion underwater.

      I simply do not see them as a huge factor in the deficit despite what the Teaparty folks like to suggest.

      •  Not significant? (0+ / 0-)

        How about free money from the taxpayer by the hundred of billions to invest at risk free 3 percent? How about trillions of dollars of crap mortgages and derivatives we bought from these crooks for 100 cents on the dollar when they are worth far less? This was the greatest fastest transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class in the richest of the rich,the oligarchs who should be going to jail, instead bonusing themselves record hundreds of billions even today.

        Now the next turn of the screw, they will now buy our towns, and states assets, our freeways and prisons and water systems. They'll own our roads and parking meters.

         They will do this for pennies on the dollar,whereupon they will raise costs and complete "ownership" of everything. (everyone?)

        •  You have a link (0+ / 0-)

          verifying the trillions of dollars of derivatives and crap mortgages that the US Govt bought?

          They did loan guarantees,but did not buy anywhere near trillions in these insturments. Those they did buy were steeply discounted,not 100 cents on the dollar.

    •  all loans paid back except for AIG bailout (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ed in Montana, Deep Harm, sethtriggs

      which is still in process, as I understand it.

      likewise, GM bailout all paid back, and Chrysler nearly finished if not yet finished.

      "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

      by fhcec on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 11:04:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Chrysler's is paid back. Except for the part that (0+ / 0-)

        is owed by the old Chrysler. That will never be repaid as the old Chrysler no longer exists. GM's is not totally paid back as they did some shufflling around to make it look like it was repaid.

        •  The taxpayer could be paid back for (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          old Chrysler's share, if their government was willing to go after Cerberus to get it. If you don't know about the 3 headed dog that guards hell, you should google it. They do just what Romney's business does, buy a company on the cheap, lay off most the employees and then sell for a big profit, or as in this case, when you end up with a loss, you go crying to the taxpayers of the US to bail out your loss. and never pay them back.

          •  had forgotten about this company - (0+ / 0-)

            what a hell of a use of B school!

            "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

            by fhcec on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 10:06:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I mean no disrespect to (16+ / 0-)

    economist Arthur Laffer (actually, I do), but if trickle-down economics actually worked, wouldn't there be some evidence that it worked at any time during the last 30+ years?  Wouldn't the economy be thriving right now?  We're letting the wealthiest corporations and individuals keep most of their own money, as Republican ideology would have us do.  Where's the robust job creation and GDP growth?

    Republicans who still cling to trickle-down remind me of those who insist there's no proof that having sex creates babies... there's some other phenomenon that makes women pregnant.

    Barack Obama in the Oval Office: There's a black man who knows his place.

    by Greasy Grant on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 10:54:13 AM PDT

  •  so war spending and private health care give away (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Misterpuff, m00finsan, supercereal

    are the problem.  Who would have thought?

  •  Trillions for defense.....screw the plebes. (7+ / 0-)
    •  well, if people are more desperate, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      volunteers for the military will increase... after all.

      "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

      by fhcec on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 11:05:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  But, but, but the GOP Holy Words say cutting taxes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Siri, m00finsan

    will grow revenue and the economy will boom and rainbows and unicorns.....

    I want my pony with a phallic sysmbol......

    "Reason is six-sevenths of treason," said one of his neighbors. "Intelligence is what the enemy uses," said another.

    by Misterpuff on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 10:55:54 AM PDT

  •  Joan (12+ / 0-)

    Thank you so much for continuing to write about the real world.  Do you send copies of all of them to Harry Reid?  To the President?

    The Republicans are the real terrorists.  I live in a state of terror that my already austere life will have to become more so.  Terror paralyzes.  Your diaries help me get beyond my isolated terror and makes action possible.

    When shit happens, you get fertilized.

    by ramara on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 10:57:44 AM PDT

  •  Great to see this diary! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Misterpuff, milton333, schnecke21

    It's enormously frustrating to see Republicans dominating the terms of the current (manufactured) budget ceiling debate -- as a choice between huge spending cuts to social programs versus slightly less huge spending cuts to social programs and incredibly modest tax increases.  

    Wouldn't it be nice if there were a wing of Democratic party that supported more discretionary spending on necessary social programs rather, funded by significant increases in taxes on the highest income segment, increases in estate taxes, etc.?  Sadly, that wing doesn't seem to exist -- and even if it did, the Democrats lack the party discipline needed to get centrists like Nelson and Baucus to sign onto an "extremist" position for tactical gains in the way that the Rethugs consistently sign up centrists like Snowe and Collins.  

  •  One would think that the so-called .... (5+ / 0-)

    patriots in the Republican Party who backed Bush's attack on Iraq and Afghanistan would, simply because of their so-called fiscal responsibility, want to make sure both wars were paid for by raising taxes instead of lowering them.  So much for backing their own ideas with their personal treasure (as the founding fathers did!)  Some patriots!  Patriot light (cheer leading, but don't pay for the team expenses!)

  •  We have both a revenue and a spending problem (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Misterpuff, m00finsan, pravin, Loge, Sue B, 714day

    Because of rising healthcare costs we cannot simply tax our way out of our deficit.  It would make a big dent but it wouldn't be enough.  We need to move towards a payment system the the money is not in more tests.  We also need to take a realistic look at end of life care especially the overuse of technology to extend life with little quality.  

    •  These charts (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sue B, sethtriggs, FindingMyVoice

      provide ample ammo to the Teaparty folks who decry the rise in ''entitlement'' spending. Now, as we know,they lump SS taxes in with general revenues,and SS payments in with entitlements,which is obscures the reality of this. Same with medicare tax and medicare payments.

      We know that SS taxes still exceed payouts.
      We know that medicare taxes fall short of payouts.

      Both should be broken out separately so we can see true pure income tax revenues vs general fund expendatures.

      Still, good info.

      •  I am nauseated by the use of the word (0+ / 0-)

        "entitlement" to define the social network that supports the populace, as opposed to the corporate welfare which is never called an entitlement. That taxpayer cash is funneled to the entitled, but let's call it something else, like "break" or "subsidy" .
        I know the caps indicate snark on your part but I got that opportunity to rant about it and all...

  •  So much for the wars that wouldn't cost a penny. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Misterpuff, JeffW

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 10:58:32 AM PDT

  •  Needed context (0+ / 0-)

    What percentage of the mandatory spending is also driven by the recession? A lot of medicare, for example.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 11:00:44 AM PDT

  •  the greeks just rioted over austerity. (5+ / 0-)

    and why is this not in the news?

  •  "War is Peace, (4+ / 0-)

    Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.”  Orwell

    Tax cuts increase revenues - GOP

    "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." -- Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

    by Siri on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 11:03:10 AM PDT

  •  Even if we'd held the Pentgon flat (0+ / 0-)

    and not cut taxes, we'd still have a shortfall. We need to raise taxes AND manage mandatory spending.

    If we don't stop them here, then where? If not now, then when?

    by nightsweat on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 11:10:07 AM PDT

  •  Congressional Budget Office (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    m00finsan, sethtriggs, milton333

    A little blip in the news a couple of months ago was that the CBO ran the numbers on what would happen if nothing changed in the spending through the budget and the tax cuts for the rich expired.

    Their conclusion was that in 10 years, the deficit would fall to balance.

    The only reason that there is "budget hysteria" is that too many people are believing the 400's propaganda.

    There is not a spending problem (except the pure waste on unnecessary foreign wars.)

    Right now the best thing for the President to do would be to take a two month vacation in Hawaii.

  •  Was glad to hear someone point out today (5+ / 0-)

    on NRP that the proposed "tax cuts" are effectively tax increases, having the same effect on those who are targeted:  leaving them with less money.

    Republicans have this sleight-of-hand argument that, once money goes to the government, it's no longer "our" money anymore but welfare. In fact, the money paid into Medicare, Social Security and federal pensions  was supposed to be held in trust for us in the federal treasury and it's as much our money as money kept in any other bank.  At least, until Congress steals it to carry out unfunded wars, give big tax breaks to the rich, create a boondoggle for the pharmaceutical industry, subsidize corporate welfare, etc.  Having raided our piggy bank, Congress is now forced to face the music and find some way to pay us back or find a way to convince us that we never were entitled to that money in the first place.  Guess which one they prefer?

    Funny, the pundits worry endlessly about preserving trust in the US government's willingness to pay its debts to foreign lenders; but the prospect of shattering its citizens' trust in its willingness to live up to promises is assumed to have no consequences.  It's up to all of us to change that assumption.

  •  We have a spending problem too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Prospect Park

    Get rid of 30% of the defense budget and you wouldnt need to raise taxes as much.

    you can call me praveen.

    by pravin on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 11:13:40 AM PDT

  •  Nice Report Card for all congresscritters who have (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, FindingMyVoice

    been in office since 2001 McJoan.

  •  not a bug, but a feature: MIC as corporate welfare (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    m00finsan, FindingMyVoice, milton333

    I am off my metas! Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03)

    by annieli on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 11:14:45 AM PDT

  •  CA GOP takes full credit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    m00finsan, nonnie9999

    California Voters

    Monday, July 4, 2011


     "They were able to get nearly exactly the same kind of all-cuts budget they would've got if Meg Whitman had won the governor's race," he said, referring to Brown's Republican opponent in the 2010 gubernatorial race.


    “We will make it so that a Democrat cannot govern as a Democrat.” ~ Grover Norquist,

    GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell is willing to tank the economy for the sake of protecting tax breaks for oil companies, yachts and corporate jets. - Senator Charles Schumer D-NY

    by anyname on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 11:17:00 AM PDT

    •  more details on Ca budget (0+ / 0-)

      Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway said on June 15, “By standing united together as the last line of defense for California taxpayers, Republicans were able to stop Governor Brown’s massive $58 billion tax increase from becoming reality. … This means that hardworking Californians will see much-needed tax relief on July 1st.”
      Friends of limited government shouldn’t bring out the champagne. The fiscal conservatism in the budget deal is minuscule by any principled standards. Furthermore, it only applies to the General Fund, which is less than half of the state’s total spending.

      But the size of the deal is less important than the fact that it was made by liberals. In a time when Democrats in Washington, D.C. are so busy spending money that they do not have time to put together a budget, their party peers in California decided to do the impossible. In a state that is practically marinated in big-government liberalism, liberals actually broke with their old spend-as-you-go habits.
      Two parts of the California budget deal stand out. First, some temporary tax increases will actually expire. This will put a little bit more money back in the pockets of California’s overburdened taxpayers. Second, the lawmakers promise that if the tax revenue forecasts in their budget deal turn out to be too optimistic, they will not compensate with higher taxes — but with spending cuts.
      Several factors drove California’s liberal lawmakers to this deal. To begin with, even they realize that government is out of money. After all, this is the state that sends IOUs instead of checks to taxpayers and to entrepreneurs who do business with the state. At some point, even liberals realize that if you do not pay people what they have earned, your voters will start looking for other candidates.
      Another factor was the verdict that financial markets delivered last fall on the spending habits of California legislators. The Golden State shifted more of its borrowing to government-subsidized bond markets because the regular market demanded higher and higher yields to absorb more of Sacramento’s endless stream of new debt. There is a breaking point where even statist politicians realize that the price for deficit-driven spending is too high.

      A third factor is that there is an opposition in town. Republicans are emboldened by the Tea Party and by electoral gains on the national level. While they lost the gubernatorial office and only maintained the status quo in the state legislature, they actually saw a small net gain in voter support. The GOP is also under pressure from vocal conservatives to not make any spend-and-tax deals with Democrats.

      GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell is willing to tank the economy for the sake of protecting tax breaks for oil companies, yachts and corporate jets. - Senator Charles Schumer D-NY

      by anyname on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 11:58:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  won't have (0+ / 0-)
        Let's start with what we will have under the budget deal passed by the big Democratic majorities in the state Senate and Assembly and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
        We will have the assumption that $4 billion in tax revenues not expected as recently as January will come in during the next year. That figure is based on two months of higher-than-expected intake by the state during April and May. Given California's slow-to-nonexistent recovery from the economic recession, expecting the windfall to continue indefinitely is quite an assumption. If good times don't roll, then a bunch of tentative cuts would supposedly be triggered automatically. And if that happens, expect it also to trigger lawsuits, protests and political attempts to revoke or lessen the cuts.

        So we don't have much, even if Brown says the new spending plan will resolve at least three-fourths of the estimated $20 billion deficit he inherited from Arnold Schwarzenegger. The inept Arnold never stood a chance of getting Democrats to sign off on the kind of cuts Brown approved both in March and June.

        We also now have a tax cut. The sales, personal income and vehicle license fee increases that Brown wanted to extend have instead died.

        That should save the average family anywhere from $268 to $1,000 per year, depending on whose estimate you believe.

        Then there's what we won't have, starting with a special election to decide whether those 2009 tax boosts should be extended. If there is one in November 2012 and voters say yes, many provisional cuts that may be triggered in January won't happen.

        There's plenty of other things we won't have. For example, more than one-third of all teenagers enrolled in California public schools won't have any physical education classes. Cuts to PE programs under the budgets passed the past two years reduced the number of 17-year-olds taking PE to just 23 percent. If the possible January cuts occur, the number would go even lower.

        GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell is willing to tank the economy for the sake of protecting tax breaks for oil companies, yachts and corporate jets. - Senator Charles Schumer D-NY

        by anyname on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 12:03:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well.... ok, but I think of it as a Jobs problem. (0+ / 0-)

    FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 11:19:02 AM PDT

  •  Someone tell me if I'm correct (0+ / 0-)

    So, we have two areas of increase-

    571bn + 364bn = 935bn.  Add to that the $496bn decline in revenue and we get a total of $1.431 trillion- pretty much the current annual deficit.

    So, let's assume for a moment, that spending increased as shown above, but tax rates had stayed the same, and therefore revenue had not decreased.  

    Then the $935bn in increased spending would have been reduced ( in other words, partly paid for) by $496bn, and the current deficit would be about $439bn.

    Imagine that.  If my math is correct, this just further proves that the GOP is lying through its teeth (yea, I know, shocking).  

    We don't have a spending problem, we have a revenue problem.

    As usual, the right wing is wrong, and they always are.

  •  Forward to the news media (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, oxfdblue

    I'm serious, this chart should be forwarded to MSNBC, Current, CNN, the three major networks and placed in the hands of folks in those outlets to push the meme.

  •  Funny (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    m00finsan, milton333

    Funny how there's no money for childcare, medical, welfare, transportation but plenty for implementing voter id. It's not a question of no money, but which priorities we spend it on...obviously we love war.

  •  Obama knew it was a revenue problem when ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... he signed the extension to the Bush tax cuts.  

    Yes, I heard his excuse that the Repubicans were holding unemployment compensation hostage.  But, a republican House will always have something to hold hostage, thus providing him with another excuse.  This time is the world economy, which supposedly will collapse on August 3 unless he caves to this round of Tea Party demands.  

    Some say that he needs to "grow a pair" but  IMHO, it's not that he lack courage and/or negotiating skill.  The problem is that he is working a GOP agenda that he announced four days before his inauguration:

    Obama Pledges Reform of Social Security, Medicare Programs

    By Michael D. Shear
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, January 16, 2009

    President-elect Barack Obama pledged yesterday to shape a new Social Security and Medicare "bargain" with the American people, saying that the nation's long-term economic recovery cannot be attained unless the government finally gets control over its most costly entitlement programs.


  •  Spending on wars vs. revenue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Prospect Park

    So, what I'm seeing is that we do, in fact, have a revenue problem IN ADDITION to a spending problem...a spending problem with regard to our enormous war effort.  

    Looks to me like if we took away our ludicrous war efforts (that we're still involved in and continue to proliferate beyond Afghanistan and Iraq), our country would be standing on FAR better footing.

    Just IMO

    -- **Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.**

    by r2did2 on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 11:46:38 AM PDT

  •  Bad Graphic. Leave out Social Security. (0+ / 0-)

    Social security is not part of the budget.  You need to leave it out.

    The war resisters league has a better pie chart.

  •  It's def a revenue problem created by a 6% (0+ / 0-)

    contraction during recession and extended tax cuts.  Been that way for at least 2 years.  Keynes ftw.

    Thanks for the table and chart.

    “Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." - Jesus

    by Jose Bidenio on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 01:38:57 PM PDT

  •  I think (0+ / 0-)

    the point of the Nordquist strategy is exactly what we're seeing.

    This moment is exactly what Nordquist and the Teabaggers have worked for: a revenue-starved deficit. Why? Because this is the crossroad position they've always dreamed of: now, they get to cut government in order to balance the budget--you know, like families do. You're seeing this at the state and local levels, too.

    The Nordquist strategy is to eliminate government as much as possible. Starve the revenue, and you force society to cut the service. All you need is a good 30 years of "taxes are EVIL" propaganda, a deficit-exploding event or two (say, two wars), a lingering recession, and finally, an asinine belief that government and family spending are analogous for it to work.

    Well, it's working. I don't foresee any significant level of support for revenue-growing in the current political culture. It's been ingrained ("entitlements").

    The issue is more fundamental than the charts and graphs. Do Americans want a post-Depression type of government or a pre-Roosevelt one?

    I'm not optimistic about the answer.

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