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Andrew Sullivan’s Reality Based Economic Analysis

Dan Mitchell writes this morning about Andrew Sullivan’s reality-based economic analysis:

I was rather amused last night when I read one of his posts, in which he was discussing whether government spending helps or hurts economic performance. He took the view that a bigger public sector stimulated growth, and criticized those who wanted to reduce the burden of government spending, snarkily observing that, “The notion that Herbert Hoover was right has become quite a dogged meme on the reality-challenged right.”

Since I’m one of those “reality-challenged” people who prefer smaller government, I obviously disagreed with his analysis. But his reference to Hoover set off alarm bells. As I have noted before, Hoover increased the burden of government during his time in office.

It turns out that Hoover actually increased government spending by 47 percent (50 if you adjust for falling prices). Mitchell has the audacity to back this claim up with numbers and everything. There’s even a convenient chart!

It’s so hard to be reality based when the facts get in the way.

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