From Doyle to Walker: A Decade of Wisconsin Spending as percent of GDP

The Wisconsin legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance started voting on the 2017-19 state budget this week.  This will be the fourth two-year budget for Governor Walker and the Republican legislature since the wave election of 2010 swept the GOP into control in Wisconsin.  How well has the GOP performed at the task of limiting government?

Nobel laureate Milton Friedman pointed out that the best way to measure the size of government was by comparing government spending to the total income.  In this way the “true tax” is revealed, because whether financed by taxation, borrowing or inflation, all spending by government must be paid from the income of the citizens.

“Keep your eye on one thing and one thing only: how much government is spending, because that’s the true tax … If you’re not paying for it in the form of explicit taxes, you’re paying for it indirectly in the form of inflation or in the form of borrowing. The thing you should keep your eye on is what government spends, and the real problem is to hold down government spending as a fraction of our income, and if you do that, you can stop worrying about the debt.”Milton Friedman, 1980   (Watch video)

Wisconsin Liberty Fund is dedicated to limited government.  Let’s take a look at recent Wisconsin budgets through Freidman’s lens of total spending as a share of total income.  For this exercise we will use data Continue reading “From Doyle to Walker: A Decade of Wisconsin Spending as percent of GDP”