Henninger's Volcano's Neither So Big Nor So Depressing

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Daniel Henninger suggests that voters are deeply upset by public spending.

This volcano of public spending and its smothering ash, by governments at every level, is what has upset people living in America's towns and villages. It's too much. It has depressed people.

As blogger Ben Somberg has documented, while there is evidence from polling data that spending is of some concern to voters, other issues, such as the general state of the economy and job growth, are of higher priority and there is no evidence that the issue evokes the intense widespread feelings that Henninger claims.

Henninger also misleads about the quantity of additional federal spending which has happened during the Obama administration, suggesting that the recently passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has already resulted in $1 trillion in expenditures.

The February 2009 eruption of Mount Obama, called “The Stimulus” by the Keynesian volcanists, sent some $862 billion cascading across the American landmass. Then came a $1 trillion eruption, which an ecstatic Democratic tribe chanted would provide “health care for all.” The volcano's eruptions spread far and eventually covered the fertile fields of the entire nation.

In fact, the Congressional Budget Office (.pdf) projects that significant federal expenditure increases due to the law, though less than the $1 trillion claimed by Henninger, do not begin until 2014, when the major insurance coverage and subsidy provisions begin. The vast majority of additional spending is not projected to happen until the latter half of the decade. In addition, while the law does lead to projected increases in federal spending, the CBO also projects that overall the law will lead to a reduction in the federal deficit.