Arnold’s last post inspired me to double-check the long-term trend of government spending relative to GDP.  Here’s a nice graph courtesy of


Aside from the two World Wars, the growth was almost linear until the early Reagan years.  Then it was basically flat until the late Bush years, when it exploded.  Now we’re almost exactly where we would have been if you did a linear extrapolation for the Truman-to-Carter era (or the Teddy Roosevelt-to-Carter era for that matter).

I hope this means the recent explosion is just a blip.  But I’ve got to admit it’s possible that the Reagan-Bush II was the blip.  What do you think?