Fiscal Cliff, Curmudgeonly Calculations, and the Reagan Bet: Part I

Ring ring…

Me: “Hello”

Dr. Mingo: “We’re fucked!”

Me: “That’s a new discovery? By the way, I like the way you start conversations.”

Dr. Mingo: “The fiscal cliff; we’re going over and I’m displeased.”

Me: “When I paraphrase this for my blog I’m going to substitute ‘displeased’ for what you just said.”

Dr. Mingo: “Who cares! That moron Obama is going to tax us back to the stone age. We’re going over the cliff!”

Me: “First of all we already went over the cliff.  In early 2011 Congress took a good look at the bigget debt in the history of mankind and wet themselves.  Ballsy lot eh?  By August they pooled all their leadership skills and decided to punt until 2013.  Now, 16 months later, I’m supposed to be surprised? D.C. has been running in the red most of my adult life and December 31, 2012 is when I’m officially scheduled to hyperventilate? Even my dog knew this was coming.”

Dr. Mingo: “Well this wouldn’t turn out so bad if Romney had won. He’d actually cut spending…”

Me: “Ha ha ha, and I fart rainbows. Whomever won the election was pre-ordained to look the dragon in the face and then bravely keep doing the same stupid shit.”

Dr. Mingo: “Compared to Obama…”

Me: “It’s better to die from Tuberculosis than Cancer? Both parties are spineless. Romney would have caved like a house of cards…”

Dr. Mingo: “But…”

Me: “…a house of cards dumped into a wood chipper…”

Dr. Mingo: “But…”

Me: “…a woodchipper that’s been set on fire.”

Dr. Mingo: “But…”

Me: “…and dropped in a tar pit.”

Dr. Mingo: “Um… that’s a pretty complete level of ‘collapse’. I disagree with you. A Republicans core belief is smaller government…”

Me: “Ha ha ha. Fart. Rainbows. Nyuk nyuk nyuk.”

Dr. Mingo: “I sense disagreement.”

Me: “Regardless of what they say, neither party is in favor of smaller government. Forget their words, look at their deeds.”

Dr. Mingo: “I’m incredulous!”

Me: “I’m going to paraphrase that as…”

Dr. Mingo: “Shut up! Are you saying the party of Reagan expands government? Are you high?”

Me: “I’ll admit Reagan rocked a cowboy hat but he spent money like an actor from California.”

Dr. Mingo: “You have insulted Reagan! I’m going to have to beat your ass for that.”

Me: “He expanded government.”

Dr. Mingo: “You’re full of baloney.”

Me: “I’m going to paraphrase that as…”

Dr. Mingo: “Shut up! I think you’re wrong. How sure are you of your facts?”

Me: “Um… We’ll I’ve been wrong before. There was this incident with my tractor’s crankshaft…”

Dr. Mingo: “So you’re backing down?”

Me: “No, but one of us is wrong. Being that we’re evolved beings let’s examine actual facts…”

Dr. Mingo: “You going to do that before or after you fart rainbows?”

Me: “I deserve that. However I have a plan.”

Dr. Mingo: (Cautiously) “Um… I’m not sure where this is going.”

Me: “I will research the matter.”

Dr. Mingo: “Whew…”

Me: “If there are more Federal Employees after a president leaves than when he takes office he’s expanded government. Is that a clear definition?”

Dr. Mingo: “Yes, well given extenuating circumstances…”

Me: “No extenuating circumstances. If you start as boss with 100 employees and quit four years later with 101 then you’ve ‘expanded’ the company. There might be very good reasons to expand; I’m sure Obama could list them…”

Dr. Mingo: “Aak!”

Me: “…but regardless of the cause, reasoning, logic, or explanation I’m going to find a number and write it on a piece of paper. More people on the payroll equals bigger government. No whining. No Mulligans.”

Dr. Mingo: “Agreed. More employees equals expanded. Simple.”

Me: “Fine. Then I will state my hypothesis.”

Dr. Mingo: “You want a lab coat and chalk board Dr. Spock?”

Me: “Hypothesis one: Reagan left office with more people in Federal employment than when he started.”

Dr. Mingo: “I think you’re wrong. I look forward to watching you eat crow.”

Me: “Hypothesis two: if I look long term, presidents of both parties have increased the number of Federal employees more or less equally. I won’t see a big difference between the two.”

Dr. Mingo: “Oh man. I’m going to be depressed if you’re right.”

Me: “Welcome to my world.”

Dr. Mingo: “So call me when you know.”

Me: “Remember my blog?”

Dr. Mingo: “You’re going to string everyone along with a cliffhanger aren’t you.”

Me: “Of course!”

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About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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7 Responses to Fiscal Cliff, Curmudgeonly Calculations, and the Reagan Bet: Part I

  1. Kangtong says:

    Are you going all the way back to the original GW or only as far as Wilson?

  2. Barcs says:

    I like the idea, and I sure agreed with you…. but I don’t think you are going to be pleased by the outcome based on government jobs…. you should have argued it on spending.

    http://www.opm.gov/feddata/historicaltables/totalgovernmentsince1962.asp

    Way up under obama.
    GWB, was basically constant during the 8 years… but with an up in the last year.
    Clinton actually reduced jobs greatly.
    And so did GHWB before him.
    The bastion of conservatism Regan increased gov employment by alot
    but Carter made cuts.
    Nixon and Ford both made cuts.
    And lyndon Johnson skyrocketed it

    Biggest increase was under (D) Lyndon Johnston.
    Highest point was under (D) Lyndon Johnston 1968

    Biggest Decrease (D) Clinton
    Lowest point was (D) Clinton … well and (R) Bush

    So in the lat 50 years:
    4 (D) presidents… 2 way up, 1 down, 1 way down
    5 (R) presidents…. 1 way up, 1 flat to up, 2 down, 1 way down

    Mixed through both parties. In other words they both do ok… and they both suck

    Here’s what you should have bet on:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Federal_Outlay_and_GDP_linear_graph.svg

    Spending has nearly always increased. (It almost has to so long as the country is growing. It just shouldn’t increase at way over the rate of growth.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Revenue_and_Expense_to_GDP_Chart_1993_-_2008.png

    But if you relate it to growth. Regan controlled government to growth mostly alright. Both Bush’s did poorly. Obama will bankrupt the country. and Clinton rocked the continent.

    Neither party would seem to be good. But based purely on federal employment or on federal budget to GDP…. Neither party is entirely bad. I was actually rather surprised. What doesn’t surprise me: The current president… is the worst in 50 years on both metrics.

    • Your info matches my discoveries. Both parties do indeed suck but the news isn’t as horrific as I exected. The number of employees (as opposed to money being thrown into the woodchipper) is trending down. Wow! Also the R’s talk a big game and I thought it was all BS. Turns out (with the ironic exception of Reagan) the R’s do cut headcount more than their Democrat counterparts.

  3. Barcs says:

    it might also be interesting to go through the splits in leadership.

    it is not often that a president has like minded leadership in both the senate and the house.

    In a real corporation the chair is not often elected without majority support in the board…. and the manager can be easily fired for not implementing the agenda,

    In the US government however. The President has little control in choosing the other leadership positions. How much of the time has each president had party control over either 1 or 2 branches.

    Nixon, Ford, GHWB,… never had control of either of the other branches…. Kennedy Johnston, Carter were never opposed.

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