Spalding traces the roots of American progressives to German thinkers who believed in the "Administrative State." Here, government is controlled by administrators and "experts," rather than officials elected to represent the people. Spalding also notes that the Founders and the progressives differed in their view of the Constitution. Progressives believed in a "...
Compound Annual Rates of Growth of Government and Other Selected Measures
"Tax collections of the Federal government have increased at a compound annual rate of 6.4 percent since 1792. Subtracting the compound average annual rate of price change, to adjust for inflation, the average annual rate of growth of taxes has been 5.5 percent, in real terms. At this rate, the real size of taxes doubles about every 13 years.
We do not have reliable measures of private output dating from 1792, but we can infer that it has grown more slowly than taxes. For output or income to have grown at the same annual rate as real tax payments, 5.5 percent in real terms for 182 years, real output (GNP) in 1792 would have to have been about $80 million (in 1974 purchasing power). Per-capita GNP in 1792 would have been $20.00, much too low a number. We can be confident, therefore, that the average growth rate of government tax collections has been larger than that of real output for nearly two centuries.
The 5.5-percent annual growth rate of real tax collections has not been uniform throughout the period (as shown in the table on the next page). From 1792 to 1901, the average growth rate of real Federal tax collections (Federal taxes adjusted for inflation) was about 4.75 percent, compounded annually. The comparable average growth rate for the 20th century has been nearly 7 percent. This century has included a period of acceleration, from 1929 to 1951, followed by deceleration, from 1951 to 1974."
More About This Topic...
Click thumbnails below to view links