Advertising Is 53 Cents of Every Dollar Spent by Government "Wasted?"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

If you haven't read it yet, there's a great post at on Americans' belief that 53 cents on every dollar of government spending is "wasted." Of course, that's essentially impossible, almost no matter how you define "waste," starting with the fact that about 2/3 of government spending - 67 cents on every dollar - is entitlements (Social Security, Medicare) plus Defense and non-discretionary interest payments on the debt. How much of THAT is "waste?" More to the point, how many of the people calling Medicare, Social Security and defense spending "waste" give up their benefits (and their armed forces) for the good of their country? Right, didn't think so. And while we're at it, how much of the other 33 cents on the dollar of government spending, including everything from Homeland Security to transportation to national parks to managing our nuclear waste to the weather service to...etc., etc. is really "waste?" Uhhhh.

More broadly, how do we have serious policy discussions when people aren't even using the same "facts" - such as the bizarre belief that 53 cents of every dollar in government spending is "waste" - as their starting point? Got me.