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The Great Disconnect May 28, 2007

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Does Not Compute, Economics, Government, Politics.

The Fray, the comments section of Slate Magazine lets you check other postings by any person you care to. It’s a good way to check if anyone responded to anything you might have written previously. I was looking at things I’d written before when I spotted this comment in one thread by a poster called BenK:

I’d like to look back a bit further, to pre-WWII days. Let’s do the comparisons then, even with the large numbers of WWI vets on the federal dole, etc. Or better yet, go back to the early 19-teens.Now compare the size of government.

It’s a perfect example of why I came up with the name of this blog. Let’s look at some numbers. Since he want to look at the early 19-teens let’s make it 1912.

Population: 95,335,000

This link shows a table displaying the  increase in penetration of technologies such as electricity, cars, electricity and radios from 1900 to 1960. Is there anyone who thinks that this has decreased since 1960? Back in his ideal time to look at the size of government there were no airlines. There wasn’t really a nationwide road system much less something like the interstate highway system. There were no national radio and television networks. The list of things that make the United States so radically different a nation than it was almost a century ago makes any comparison between government size now and then so meaningless it would be more like comparing apples and turnips rather than apples and oranges. The percentage of the populace employed in manufacturing is radically different. The same is true of agriculture. The entire social infrastructure of the country was different. Why in heaven’s name do some people think you can compare government and business now with that long ago and draw any conclusions?

It’s just wish fulfillment. They feel they already know a valid answer and ignore everything that would prove otherwise. Sorry, folks but it’s the 21st Century and it’s very different than most of the 20th much less any further back.



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