Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Pygmy Shrinks?

pygmies Russ Robert writes:

The U.S. government borrows money easily because we’re the tallest pygmy. But if we keep spending money like a drunken sailor, we will get shorter and more responsible nations will soon tower over us. We are playing with fire.

Then Arnold Kling corrects him:

We are not the tallest pygmy. According to this story, our government's credit standing is already below that of Canada, Germany, France, New Zealand, and Switzerland.

To put these comments in perspective, here is a nonpartisan budget deficit projection by the Congressional Budget Office from earlier last year:


1 comment:

thinking said...

This just means we had better keep electing Democratic presidents because historically deficits are smaller under Democrats than Republicans.

Where were some of these fiscal hawks when Bush was turning huge surpluses into massive deficits? What about the Iraq war and its over 1 trillion dollar price tag? It would be nice to have that back.

Why not enact the Senate version of healthcare reform? The CBO projects that would actually save a bit of money.

Interesting that countries like Canada, Germany, France, et al have better credit standing, when some conservatives would label these "socialist" countries. And of course these countries all have the dreaded universal "socialist" healthcare.

One bit of caution regarding budget projections: the NYT had a fascinating interactive chart about the accuracy, or lack thereof, of budget forecasting. As Ezra Klein notes, "what forecasters do is extend the current trends. When something happens to break that trend -- a massive financial crisis, say -- they're generally caught unawares." The same thing applies towards upside surprises as well; the huge surpluses under Clinton were not predicted.