Our Overwrought language award this week comes from Kevin Drum of Mother Jones, writing about Paul Ryan's budget plan. Drum calls Ryan's budget a "Vision of a Dickensian Hellhole". He quotes Jonathon Chait as saying, "Its enactment would amount to the most dramatic rollback of government since the New Deal."
All this for a budget that proposes to reduce government spending to about 19% of GDP, a level that we have not seen since the Dickensian Hellhole of ... the Bill Clinton Presidency. During the New Deal, spending hovered around 10% of GDP.
This is the ratchet effect that big government lovers are so adept at employing. Under President Obama (with a lot of help from George Bush and a Democratic Congress) spending has skyrocketed to an unprecedented-except-in-WWII level of over 25% of GDP. But suddenly Drum and Chait and company want to define that level as the new baseline, below which any drop is now "Dickensian." Which is another reason that we should never, ever create a new government spending program because once established they are impossible to eliminate, no matter how stupid and wasteful.