I am updating the chart on UK public spending as a proportion of GDP with the data on the US. The historical data is taken from Christopher Chantrill's very useful websites, although for the UK I have replaced his data with the official HM Treasury data from 1965.
As somebody pointed out in Albert Esplugas' blog it is interesting that the two World Wars appear to have been taken as opportunities to make permanent increases in Government spending.
It is useful to put the current debate on the fiscal stimulus in a historical context. Some people have suggested that even Keynes would have been appalled at the idea of more government spending when it already accounts for 40% of our annual output -his reference points were a UK pre-WWII level of public spending of 25% of GDP and the US' New Deal efforts during the Great Depression which sent public spending there from 11% of GDP to 20%.
Shame I cannot find the same type of data for Spain. The Fundación BBVA funded research some years ago on Spain's economic history by Albert Carreras and Xavier Tafunell, but I have not managed to find the raw data. The best I am able to provide is the chart below, which given the scale of the Y axis is not very useful. Does anybody know where to find the data?