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Ignoring entitlements - i.e. SS and Medicare seems a bit unfair. Plus America is a federal system where a large chunk of public sector expenditures come from local and state governments, in particular pretty much all education spending and a good deal of health care. Public  health care spending for example is overall much larger than defense, yet on that graph it is virtually non existent. Education spending is also larger than defense. The latest comprehensive figures I could find were $373 billion for 1999-2000 not counting higher education spending. I'm sure that has increased significantly in the past five years in nominal terms and again, it doesn't include higher education. Public sector health care spending in the US is about 7% of GDP, again something you  don't see on that graph. In general the US  governments spend a lot on health care with pathetic results and a lot on education with very mixed results for K-12.
by MarekNYC on Wed Oct 12th, 2005 at 04:06:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Public  health care spending for example is overall much larger than defense, yet on that graph it is virtually non existent.

Are you sure about that? Last I heard, America is spending more on their military than the whole rest of the world put together...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Wed Oct 12th, 2005 at 04:28:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
394 billion dollars!?!?!?!?!?!? That's way nmore than thee rest of the world...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Wed Oct 12th, 2005 at 04:31:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you sure about that? Last I heard, America is spending more on their military than the whole rest of the world put together...

Umm, yes. Public sector health care spending is about 7% of GDP, defense is about 4%.  

by MarekNYC on Wed Oct 12th, 2005 at 04:44:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a true picture of the federal priorities, nevertheless... And don't forget who is at the receiving end of all these military toys, so it's legitimate that we care and be surprised. Your arguments about States vs federation are just too nuanced to have any impact!

I hope you will complain with the same vigor the next time we compare public sector expenditure between countries, and France (and others) are said to carry unsustainable burdens because healthcare is paid from the public purse instead of being paid by individuals to private insurance companies, or similarly with pensions...

... or when the marginal tax rates of France and the US or UK are compared, without taking into account the most basic automatic deductions, and the family allowances. Not everybody is a young bond trader...

I suppose all I am saying is - Americans seem surprised when superficial arguments are used against them, and don't seem to realise how often they make the same.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 12th, 2005 at 06:13:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is this a true picture of?  If I were to draw up a graph of any country's spending and exclude health care, education, and pensions it would 'show' some rather strange priorities.  Or I could just draw a graph of non-federal public sector spending in the US and it would  indicate a 'true' picture of an America that spends virtually nothing on its military.  

The true picture is that America does spend significantly more on defense than most developped countries - about twice as much. It also spends quite a bit on health care but its people get a very poor return on that spending while private sector health care does very well out of it. I have no idea how education spending compares across countries.

As for what AEI or the WSJ do - well it does remind me of that study 'showing' that people in Mississipi are better of than Swedes. But I'm really not convinced that their quality of arguments about Europe are a model to follow.

by MarekNYC on Wed Oct 12th, 2005 at 11:40:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yeah, but it's fun once in a while, and it's especailly fun to see the outraged reactions from the people that do this day in and day out in their own publications (and I don't mean you, to be clear, you've been preety much consistent and fair in your positions on this site, even if I don't agree with all of it)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 13th, 2005 at 05:26:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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