Saturday, October 02, 2010

Neil Reynolds pants himself again

Back again after they briefly pulled it back to be sure of their numbers, Progressive Economics points out again that when it comes to economic criticism The Globe and Mails resident dishonest libertarian crank Neil Reynolds appears to have the math skills of a marmoset with a head injury.
I’m not clear on where Reynolds gets his per capita spending numbers from, but there is no evidence of government spending growth in excess of income (GDP) growth per person over the past 30 years or so

If we look at the period from Reynolds base year of 1982 to 2009, real per capita GDP grew by 52%. So if Reynolds numbers are correct, government spending growth lagged growth in GDP per capita.

Moreover, Statistics Canada data show that, between 1982 and 2009, total current spending by all levels of government in Canada fell from 47.7% to 42.1% of nominal GDP. (Calculated from data in Tables 1 and Table 3 of the Historical Statistical Supplement to the Canadian Economic Observer.)

Government spending has been falling rather than rising relative to income over the period chosen by Reynolds, and this would show up in even more dramatic form if we took the early 1990s (when government spending topped 50% of GDP) as the base.

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