Thursday, December 6, 2007

More Leftist Ignorance

George Soros' Tides Foundation funded this piece of leftist propaganda. It is hard to take seriously something that manages to make two dramatically incorrect statements at the very beginning.

First error: more than 50% of taxes does not go to the military. This is a claim that the left likes to make by only looking at "discretionary spending" and ignoring much of the mandated spending on health and welfare. The book Addicted to War, for example, on page 1, claims that "A huge part of the money that the IRS takes out of our paychecks goes to support the military," and shows a pie chart that claims that 51% of all discretionary spending in 2004 is for the military.

But that's a very misleading statement, because discretionary spending is less than half the budget. I couldn't find the 2004 budget data, but the 2008 budget data is here. On page 4 of that document you can see a breakdown of 2007 federal spending, with 20.1% of the federal spending going to defense spending, 18.5% going to non-defense discretionary, 20.4% going to Medicare/Medicaid, and 20.9% to Social Security. Defense spending is actually less than we spend on Medicare/Medicaid.

Second error (I'm being polite): the claim that corporations are bigger than the government. It is true that there are corporations that are larger than many Third World governments, but the total revenue of Exxon, the world's largest corporation is just under $340 billion. By comparison, the U.S. government's total revenue estimate for 2007 is a bit more than $2.4 trillion. Even combining the ten largest corporations on Earth does not add up to the revenue of the U.S. government. And there are LOTS of other governments--the state and local governments have substantial budgets. California's 2007-2008 budget revenue is $128 billion (see page 73)--or just between the 15th and 16th largest corporations. Japan, Canada, Australia, the various European nations--I would expect all of them to have revenues somewhere between California and the United States.

There's not much point in continuing to watch something that is, at best, grossly wrong about basic facts.

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