Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Federal Expenditures – Seasonally Adjusted

John Nolte thinks he understands government spending data but I’m not so sure:
There was no decrease in government spending during the fourth quarter of last year. In fact, the government spent more money between October and December of 2012 than it did during the previous two quarters. So federal spending actually increased during the 4th quarter. Would you like some facts to go with your media propaganda?
Barkley helped clear up some of Nolte’s confusion:
What may be a problem here is that the public reports did not make this distinction, reporting on declines in "government spending," when in fact what is involved here has been a decline in government purchases. The crucial issue here is that changes in transfer payments do not directly affect GDP, but changes in government purchases do, and it was purchases, mostly through defense spending, that declined.
But we should also note that Nolte presented Federal outlay data which exhibits seasonality. Which is why the government accounts also present the data with seasonal adjustments. Nolte’s observations don’t quite hold when we look at Federal spending seasonally adjusted.

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