1993 and 2008 – Same Symptoms, Different Diseases

Robert Reich is the former Labor Secretary under President Clinton. I’ve commented on his writings before and I like how he uses statistics to tell a story without being manipulative. He wrote an Op-Ed piece for the NY Times yesterday called Saved By the Deficit? He hits on themes that I’m glad to learn more about. Here are some excerpts and stats I really like and will post more about in a future entry:







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At first glance,
January 2009 is starting to look a lot like January 1993. Then, the federal
deficit was running at roughly $300 billion a year, or about 5 percent of gross
domestic product, way too high for comfort. By contrast, the deficit for the
2009 fiscal year is now projected to be $410 billion, or about 3.3 percent of
gross domestic product. That’s not too worrying. But if the Treasury shovels
out the full $700 billion of bailout money next year, the deficit could balloon
to more than 6 percent of gross domestic product, the highest since 1983. And
if the nation plunges into a deeper recession, with tax revenues dropping and
domestic product shrinking, the deficit will be even larger as a proportion of
the economy.

Finally, not all
deficits are equal. As every family knows, going into debt in order to send a
child to college is fundamentally different from going into debt to take an
ocean cruise. Deficits that finance investments in the nation’s future are not
the same as deficits that maintain the current standard of living.

Here again, there’s
marked difference between 1993 and 2009. Then, some of our highways, bridges,
levees and transit systems needed repair. Today, they are crumbling. In 1993,
some of our children were in classrooms too crowded to learn in, and some
districts were shutting preschool and after-school programs. Today, such
inadequacies are endemic. In 1993, some 35 million Americans had no health
insurance and millions more were barely able to afford it. Today, 50 million
are without insurance, and a large swath of the middle class is barely holding
on. In 1993, climate change was a problem. Now, it’s an emergency.


Yearly Federal Deficit:

  • 1993 – Approximately $300 billion equaling 5% GDP
  • 2009 – Approximately $410 billion equaling 3.3% GDP

Health Coverage:

  • 1993 – 35 million Americans without insurance
  • 2008 – 50 million Americans without insurance

Wealth Distribution:

  • 1980 – the top 1% richest Americans accounted for 8% of total national income
  • 2008 – the top 1% richest Americans account for 20% of total national income
    • The last time the top 1% accounted for 20% of total national income was 1928

About benleeson
My name is Ben Leeson. I currently work for a large financial company in IT. I went to school at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. I graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration concentrating in HR. Professor William Brown taught me and I enjoyed his classes; even acquiring an appreciation for just about all things HR. I didn’t pursue a job in that field after college but I’ve kept up with it. This blog will further my fascination with all things HR. I hope to grow my knowledge of the area through thoughtful writings and spirited feedback. I will attempt to have a fairly routine style so anyone reading can come to expect certain segments. Please excuse my incorrect grammar and occasional misspelling.

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