In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff


We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.







Try Advanced Search


  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...


CultureBlogs
Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
PhilosoBlog
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Gregdotorg
BookSlut
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Cronaca
Plep
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Seablogger
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette


Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Samizdata
Junius
Joanne Jacobs
CalPundit
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Public Interest.co.uk
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
Spleenville
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
CinderellaBloggerfella
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
InstaPundit
MindFloss
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes


Miscellaneous
Redwood Dragon
IMAO
The Invisible Hand
ScrappleFace
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz

Links


Our Last 50 Referrers







« Web Surfing | Main | The Internet and Social Memory »

April 15, 2003

The Ever Increasing Prosperity of the Public Sector

Michael:

Today, of course, is tax day. Every year we got through the rigamarole of filing taxes, and the very familiarity of the ritual, I think, blinds us to the extent of the changes that have occurred during our lifetimes. So I did a little Internet research and came up with some figures. All are in constant FY 2000 dollars.

Back in 1950—admittedly, four years before I was born—Federal and state governments were waging the cold war and the hot war in Korea on a crummy $2646 per U.S. citizen (men, women and children.) By 1960, while we were still waging the cold war and building the Interstate Highway system, the public sector was sucking up $4102 per capita. By 1970, while we were still waging the cold war and the Vietnam war and finishing the Interstate Highway system, the public sector was getting revenue of $6161 per capita. By 1980, the public sector was up to $7223 per citizen. By 1990, the number had climbed to $8364. By 2000, the public sector was struggling along on a paltry $10,637 per citizen. (Remember, inflation has nothing to do with the growth of these numbers.)

Without putting too fine a point on it, from the time I began to become aware of such things until the present—that is, roughly 1960 through 2000, I do not think that the quality of services provided by the public sector to me or my family improved by two-and-a-half times. In fact, in many respects--public school educations, transportation, crime come to mind--such services seem to have declined over that time period. (I will grant the effectiveness of the military may have increased by more than 2.5 fold, but that seems to be a rather isolated example.)

Possibly the taxpaying public should spend less time dutifully filling out their tax returns and more time inquiring as to exactly what they (as opposed to the manifold special interests with all four feet in the public trough) are getting for the ever increasing real resources they are providing to the public sector.

Somewhat grumpy cheers,

Friedrich

posted by Friedrich at April 15, 2003




Comments

I find the Social Security tax for the self-employed to be particularly horrendous. As a person employed by a company, the true size of the monthly "donation" to the SS system is disguised. As a self-employed person, the SS tax is ruinous.

Posted by: Felicity on April 15, 2003 11:18 PM



Interesting analysis. A gentleman named Earl Meyer did a very similar analysis---but from 1948 to 1978 once---came to the same conclusions.

Posted by: annette on April 24, 2003 12:51 PM






Post a comment
Name:


Email Address:


URL:


Comments:



Remember your info?