Thursday, December 29, 2005

On the other hand ...

Okay, so now I've hacked on the Putin police state a bit, but I'd like to take another look at Russia. Hat tip to Kae (on the fightforliberty list) for posting an article that, in passing, referred to Russia's taxing/spending habits.

From the CIA World Factbook (numbers rounded):

Russia's GDP: $1.4 trillion

US GDP: $11.7 trillion

From the article cited by Kae:

Government revenue is expected to surge 40 percent to a record 5.1 trillion rubles, or $177.6 billion, next year, according to the 2006 budget, which Putin signed on Tuesday. Spending is set at 4.3 trillion rubles, allowing for the country's sixth straight surplus.

Let's see ... the US budget for 2006 is somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.7 trillion (maybe -- the figures get fudged with "supplementals" and such so much that it's hard to tell for sure). Divide that into GDP, and it says the US government spends 23% of GDP (i.e. it spends about a quarter of what you, I and every other American produces).

Russia? Based on the conversion factor implied above, their budget comes to about $149 billion ... or about 10.5% of GDP.

Of course, they're taxing at a higher rate than they spend, which explains why their national debt is only 28% of GDP while the US debt is 65% of GDP.

Russia's government spends (and therefore perforce extorts from its population via taxation, inflation and other scams) less than half the percentage of its citizens' resources that the US does.

And that's the difference "relatively speaking." In real terms, the Russians spend about one twentieth as much on government as the US (in US dollar values), for a population about half the size (143 million Russians, 296 million Americans), or about one tenth as much per capita.

Russia -- surrounded by historical enemies on every side -- spends about 1/3 altogether, on its entire government, what the US -- menaced as we are, you know, by Canada and Mexico -- budgets for "defense." And they still have enough left over to put together the kind of police state that the Busheviks have still only realized in their wet dreams!

Yeah, the era of big government is over. Somewhere.

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