Saturday, October 20, 2012

What does the U.S. Federal Government Spend Money on?

What does the United States Federal Goverment Spend their money on?

In 2012, the breakdown is as follows:

In the chart above, over 62% of the 2012 US Federal Budget was spent on Entitlements including Health Care, Social Security, Pensions, Medicare and Medicaid.  The next largest group is National Defense at 19%.  Net Interest is at 6%, and that leaves 13% for all other spending including subsidies, major Departments, Education, and Foreign Affairs. 

Since in 2012, spending as a percentage of GDP was 23% and revenue was 16.1% (with the long term average revenue as a percentage of GDP from 1944 to 2012 to be around 18%), that is a large percentage difference just to break even on the deficit. 

Let us say that we can bring up revenue to the long term average of 18% of GDP, and that means to break even, the United States would have to cut spending by around 20%. 

This means that even if we spread the reductions over many years, we would have to raise Revenue to 18% of GDP and then cut the Entire National Defense Budget.  Or, raise Revenue to 18% of GDP, cut the National Defense Budget in half, and then cut all Foreign Affairs, the entire Education budget, and almost all Departments and subsidies.  This is going to be painful even if we spread it out over many years.

Looking forward many years, it will even be worse.

In the chart above, we see that Entitlements (Medicaid, Obamacare, Medicare, Social Security) and Net Interest are going to completely dominate the U.S. Revenue as a Percentage of GDP.

This makes intuitive sense.  Net Interest should rise because we already have $16 Trillion in U.S. Federal National Debt, and we are adding more each year with large deficits, and Interest Rates are likely going to rise.  Entitlements would continue to increase because of the Aging Population, Retiring Baby Boomers (starting in 2011), and more expensive medical costs.

This is not sustainable.  Major reforms will have to be be done including and especially major Entitlement reforms or else this U.S. Economy will have a major collapse or another Great Depression.

About the Data:

Data from the Office of Managment and Budget, the Congressional Budget Office (Alternative Fiscal Scenario), and charts produced by Heritage

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