Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stop citing spending ratios! - The Hill's Pundits Blog

Historical government spending by major functi...Image via Wikipedia

By Terence Kane

There is a lot to like about David Brooks’s column today in The New York Times. I do want to respond briefly to his point about spending on children and seniors. Brooks cites a recent study by Julia Isaacs at the Brookings Institution that lists the ratio of federal spending between seniors and children at 7:1. Various other columnists have picked up this headline-generating ratio. Notice, pundits rarely use the 2.4:1 ratio for all government spending — most government spending on children is at the local and state level — since it plays less into their selected narrative. More broadly, it does not matter what ratio they cite; they are both deeply flawed.

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