The Corner

What’s that now?

I’m generally a fan of Niall Ferguson and I certainly have no major problem complaining about booming American debt. But this seems a little unfair:

Since becoming president, George Bush has presided over one of the steepest peacetime rises ever in the federal debt. The gross federal debt now exceeds $8.3 trillion. There are three reasons for the post-2000 increase: reduced revenue during the 2001 recession, generous tax cuts for higher income groups and increased expenditures not only on warfare abroad but also on welfare at home. And if projections from the Congressional Budget Office turn out to be correct, we are just a decade away from a $12.8 trillion debt — more than double what it was when Bush took office.

Emphasis mine. Under what definition is Ferguson working under that allows two simultaneous hot wars and sundry other military engagements to be described as “peacetime” expenditures?

Update: From a reader:

Jonah,

You say:  “Under what definition is Ferguson working under that allows two simultaneous hot wars and sundry other military engagements to be described as “peacetime” expenditures?”

The problem is worse than definitional, since in his OWN article, two sentences after mentioning peacetime, he refers to “increased expenditures not only on warfare abroad…”  Some commentators will try to argue that [this] isn’t a “real” war, but clearly Ferguson understands it is a real war, since he characterizes our spending as “warfare expenditures”.  Illogical.

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