Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Government expenditure - just how bad is it?
In yesterday's posts looking at UK government expenditure, one of my regular readers - young mark - had a request. He wanted me to post a chart looking at total government expenditure as a percent of GDP. He thought that simply looking at the nominal growth of expenditure was misleading.
I was happy to oblige. Here is the chart - total managed government expenditure expressed in terms of GDP. I chose to start the data from the 1999-2000 fiscal year. When New Labour were elected in mid 1997, they promised to keep to the previous government's expenditure plans for at least two years. Therefore, this chart begins when New Labour started to develop their own expenditure plans.
The chart tells a very stark story. Back in 2000, the public expenditure to GDP rate was 36 percent of GDP. This year, it will hit 42.6 percent. Next year and the year after, it will rise to 44 percent. So by the time, the Brownite dictatorship will fall, the share of the public sector in the economy will have grown by about 8 percentage points.
Here is the rest of young mark's comment:
"You may also like to consider that the Government was elected three times on a clear mandate of raising public expenditure in order to improve public services. In other words, the public got what was on the tin.
I notice a number of posters have claimed that the increased expenditure was entirely wasted. Where is the evidence for this? The Wanless report into increased NHS funding certainly did not draw this conclusion."
The boy has a fair point here. We asked for it, and we got it. We voted for big government and Brown delivered.
However, what about young mark's last challenge. Is there any evidence out there that public expenditure increased waste? So come boyzzz, give me your worst examples of Brown's blow blowout binge of useless spending.
I will start the ball rolling with my favourite - the millenium dome.