Our Unnoticed Crisis

Do you consider yourself relatively well-informed about public affairs in the US? Well, here are some horrifying stats you haven’t seen on Faux News or PMSNBC, or been told about by any of the dinosaur media. There’s a sector of the U.S. economy where spending has exploded 44% faster than GDP growth between 1980 and 2007–far greater than the rate at which it has consumed a rising share of income in Canada, France, or Germany, where it has grown by only about 10% more than GDP. Switzerland, of course, has found a way to control costs in this sector so well that its share of GDP has actually fallen by 11.5% between 1990 and 2006.

It now takes 6.5% of America’s total annual production of goods and services to meet our fellow citizens’ needs in this area–a fraction that is fully 41% higher than in Switzerland. And yet our government does nothing to contain these spiraling costs–costs that threaten the ability of each and every one of us to continue to enjoy the essential benefits of this sector. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that access to this sector’s output is the very essence of the “pursuit of happiness,” upon which our nation was founded.

What is this area of runaway costs that politicians and the media utterly ignore?

What is this area of runaway costs that politicians and the media utterly ignore?

Recreation and Culture.

Seem ridiculous? Do you think it’s obvious that this is not a crisis, but simply evidence that people spend a higher share of their incomes on certain items, and a reduced share on others, as they become better off? I agree.

Remember this the next time you read about our “health-care crisis,” because the faulty logic is exactly the same.

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Filed under Economics, Politics

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