How big should the federal government be? Most people probably would say it’s about the right size. But what if you knew that forces -- indeed plans -- were in motion to make Uncle Sam’s bite on the economy almost twice what it is now?
The government spent about $2.7 trillion in 2006. That’s a lot of money, of course, but the gross domestic product (GDP) is around $13.3 trillion, and so it’s a manageable figure. Indeed, federal spending, which hovers at 20 percent of GDP, has been remarkably stable as a share of the economy, through war and peace, in the past half century.