Federal Spending – Fast Facts

All fast facts for federal spending are from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Although they represent many of their most recent reports on this subject, they do not represent all of their reports on this subject. Occasionally minor word adjustments may have been made for clarity or to reflect the updated nature of the statement.   As always, verify and view statements in their full context as often as possible.

Prior to the start of Medicare and Medicaid in 1966, programmatic mandatory spending averaged 5.7 percent of GDP between 1962 and 1965 with Social Security accounting for nearly half.  Within a decade, this category was comparable in size to total discretionary spending, nearly doubling as a percent of GDP to 10.6 percent by 1976.  Verify at Page 10
Except for Social Security, growth in programmatic mandatory spending has continued to outpace the growth in GDP since the mid-1970s due largely to Medicare and Medicaid.  Verify at Page 10
The 1980s began with substantial momentum in the growth of Federal nondefense spending in the areas of human resources, grants to states and local governments, and, as a result the deficits incurred throughout the 1970s, interest on the public debt.  Verify at Page 8
The United States is facing profound budgetary and economic challenges. At 8.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the $1.3 trillion budget deficit that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects for 2011 will be the third-largest shortfall in the past 65 years (exceeded only by the deficits of the preceding two years). Verify here
The components of federal spending that are projected, under current law, to be unusually large relative to GDP by 2020 are the expenditures for Social Security and the federal health programs (including spending for Medicare, Medicaid, and the subsidies to be provided in the new insurance exchanges); other nondefense spending is projected to roughly equal its historical share of GDP, and defense spending is projected to be a smaller share of GDP.  Verify here
The percentage of the budget going to the Department of Health and Human Services has gone from 3.3 percent in 1962 to 24.7% in 2010.  Verify here
The federal government’s budget deficit for fiscal year 2011 was $1.3 trillion; at 8.7% of GDP, that deficit was the third-largest in the past 40 years.  Verify here
If enacted, the President’s March 2011 proposals would reduce revenues by $2.3 trillion during the 2012-2021 period relative to amounts in the CBO’s baseline.  Verify here
The percentage of the budget going to the Department of Defense-Military Programs has gone from 46.9% in 1962 to 19.3% in 2010.  Verify here
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