Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Life under our government in 1900

Imagine how free we were just over 100 years ago. Here are but two examples:
Federal spending. In 1900 federal spending was $0.5B. In 2000 it was $1,789B . Those amounts translated to 2.5% of GDP in 1900 and 21% in 2000. Government spending at all levels in the U.S. was 36.5% of GDP in 2006. That 2.5% of GDP that could sustain the entire federal government in 1900 is not even enough to cover the Medicare program today.

The Medicare program, by the way, did not exist in 1900; it was established in 1965.

Federal taxes. A federal income tax did not exist in 1900; it was unconstitutional, and would remain that way until the 16th Amendment was ratified in 1913. The first 1040 form included one page of instructions, and appeared to apply to both individuals and businesses. Today's 1040 instructions for individuals runs 155 pages, with no guarantee that you won't have to fill out other forms and consult other instructions.
For more nuggets of nostalgia, read the rest of the article here.

Good Day to You, Sir


Charity said...

What you fail to mention is that people were dying in the streets without the government safety net to fall back on. Right? Weren't they? I mean, they must have been because that's what everyone tells me would happen if we did away with all this government spending.

Don, American said...

I have to admit, no matter how liberal the concept is, I do appreciate my Medicare. I thank you all for your help.