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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 (NCFRR), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). They do not represent all of their reports on this subject. Some simply provide historical context. 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.

Mandatory spending consists primarily of benefit programs, such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid Discretionary spending is controlled by annual appropriation acts; policymakers decide each year how much money to provide for given activities.   Click here to verify at Page 5- – – URL http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/ftpdocs/28xx/doc2819/analysispresbud.pdf
Prior to the start of Medicare and Medicaid in 1966, programmatic mandatory spending averaged 5.7 percent of GDP between 1962 and 1965 (less than half the size of total discretionary spending), 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 (1.1 percent of which was for unemployment compensation that year). Click here to verify at Page 10 - – – Or use URL; www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2012/assets/hist.pdf
The 1930’s began with Federal outlays (spending) equaling just 3.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).  In 2010 Federal outlays equaled 23.8 percent of GDP.   Click here to verify at Page 8 - – Or use URL; www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2012/assets/hist.pdf
Throughout most of the Nation’s history prior to the 1930’s, the bulk of Federal spending went towards national defense, veterans benefits and interest on the public debt.   In 1929, for example, 71 percent of the Federal outlays were in these categories.    Click here to verify at Page 7 - – – Or use URL; www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy10/pdf/hist.pdf
While the program’s cash deficit in fiscal year 2010 was largely due to the economic slowdown, the Social Security Trustees project that the program will run persistent cash deficits beginning in 2015.  Click here to verify
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Voting Key


Fact = 100% - 92% True
Mostly Fact = 91% - 75% True
Slightly Fact = 74% - 60% True
Split = 59% - 50% True
Slightly Fiction = 49% - 30% True
Mostly Fiction = 29% - 10% True
Fiction = 9% - 0% True