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Government spending being included in the economic growth numbers masks what is really going on in the economy - because it is taking ever-larger government deficits over the course of time to keep the economy going. 

This is consistent with my basic premise on this website.  The Kondratieff wave (which lasts for decades) predicts that the economy will slow down during the later part of the wave (which is what we are in).  Government deficits have been and are being used to make up the difference.  The problem is that ever-larger deficits are needed to do so over the course of the years (but not every single year along the way) - as one would expect if one is familiar with the Kondratieff wave - and the result is that the government debt is getting ever-larger and growing more and more quickly. 

Ultimately, the problem is that (and we are there) the economy is growing slowly enough in real economic terms (i.e., not including government spending), and the government deficits are large enough, that the system simply can't keep up with the combination anymore - the government spending is such a large part of the economy in the meantime that the resulting deficits are such a large portion of the budget (private tax revenues are such a small percentage of the total spending) that the system can't keep up with the situation anymore.  The total debt starts going up more and more and private-sector tax revenues are just not (eventually, anywhere near) enough anymore to keep up with it. 

This is compounded if the accumulated debt actually goes exponential - and the U.S. national debt is in the process of doing so (actually, recently went past that point), it looks like it went past the knee of the exponential sometime between about March and October 2008.  All exponentials have a time past the knee when they are not going up quickly yet - for us, that was from later in 2008 to late in 2009.  The debt started rocketing up in December 2009 - and has now added $2 trillion to the debt in just over a year, 13 months, to the beginning of 2011, as a result.  So we are on the beginning of the vertical part of the exponential (which makes it very hard to get back below the knee again). 

We have reached a point where the annual deficits are well over $1 trillion, they are something like 40% of the entire federal budget, and growth (including government spending) is no higher than before and at times much lower than is regarded as nominally healthy. 

In other words, government deficits have gone about as far as they can go in propping the economy up - and that is why the economic recovery is so slow despite massive government spending and massive government deficits in an effort to get the economy going again. 

I think we are past the point where the line showing growth in government debt has crossed the line showing decrease in real economic growth - in other words, we are past the point of no return, we are to the point where the real economic growth is being overwhelmed by the sheer size of the total government debt and the annual government deficit, slowly-but-surely.