By The Bakersfield Californian
Let me again note my faith is in God, not Washington or Sacramento. That said, the level of spin sometimes drives me to distraction. A recent letter writer's budget analysis is one such thing ("Obama frugal? Run those numbers again," Feb. 27). While his numbers appear accurate, the last two columns of the accompanying chart -- which computes the ratio of spending to the gross domestic product -- appear to be nothing more than a way to portray spending by the Obama administration as "the worst," since the other categories do not make him look so bad.
The writer notes that GDP is a measure of how well the economy can support government spending -- generally true, but so what. GDP is not a fixed sum or measure. Indeed, when the economy is weak, GDP goes down, and that is when stimulus spending, if it is to be used, is implemented. As a metaphor, let us say government spending is a full-size pickup truck. When the economy is strong, like an 18-wheeler roaring down Highway 99, the pickup doesn't seem that big. When the economy is limping along like a 15-year-old economy car, that same truck looks enormous. Likewise, comparing the same level of spending to a weak-vs.-strong economy will skew the apparent size of the spending.
Including spending as a percentage of GDP is a statistic used for partisan spin -- it bears no relationship to whether this or that administration is frugal or profligate. Once again, I ask, please fight fair, and be not only technically honest but honest and straightforward.