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Breaking Down the Deficit

David Leonhardt‘s carefully-researched column in yesterday’s Times breaks down the causes of the increasing budget deficit. The bottom line: Don’t blame the Obama agenda, “it is responsible for only a sliver of the deficits.”
Courtesy of Matt Yglesias, here’s a simple summary chart:


But Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution remains unimpressed, arguing that:

The reason why the hundreds of billions of dollars of spending in Obama’s agenda is said to be responsible for only a “sliver” of the deficit is that the agenda also includes taxes, thus the net effect is low.

Umm … that’s exactly the point. When shifts in spending are matched by shifts in taxes, the deficit doesn’t change.