Monday, February 13, 2012

Gravity and Education Spending

There's a CATO Institute graph going around that paints a very distorted picture as if we had some sort of continuously skyrocketing federal spending on education. In truth, that's not the case at all. We saw a very large -- but very brief -- spike on account of the Great Recession. The CATO graph neglects to include the estimates for 2011 and 2012 spending that show it going back down.
Data from
Sometimes what went up comes back down. And that's without even adjusting for inflation.

The 2010 through 2012 figures are estimates. But CATO included the 2010 estimate, so why not the rest of the picture so that we could see it comes back down?

What happens if we adjust for inflation and population?

Not only does the brief boost go away, but it looks like its going to go below 2005 levels.

Update: for a little pre-2005 context, see Education Spending, the Prequel (pre-2005).

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