So I have a 6.5% increase in total government spending which of course is a weighted average of robust growth at the federal level and shrinkage at the larger state and local level.
What is going on here? I haven't had my second cup of coffee yet so maybe I'm mixing something up. Am I wrong or is Boudreaux and Agresti wrong (their numbers don't even seem to add up with each other, granted)? Why are these numbers so different - shouldn't BEA and OMB be close? I'm also concerned that budgeting practices for OMB make it not exactly what we want to look at - and that the NIPA tables are better. Is it that Agresti adjusts for inflation wrong?
If Krugman is right and government hasn't been up to the task (as I suspect he is), then this is a dangerous claim to be passing around. If Boudreaux is right and it's been "Government's Gone Wild", then that has major implications for what we think of fiscal policy. Can anyone help account for the divergences?
My BEA data is from table 1.1.6. Agresti's seems to be from 3.1. His are nominal dollars. If someone wants to look at 3.9.6, which has the real dollars that would be useful. If anyone wants to look into this more, run more numbers, and write something up I'd be happy to host a guest post sorting all this out - just let me know in the comment section.