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It’s the Growth, Not the Deficit


In 1944, during the peak of our involvement in World War II, our federal government took in $43.7 billion and spent $93.1 billion creating a deficit of over $48 billion, larger than our entire budget receipts. By comparison, President Obama’s FY 2010 budget estimates receipts of $2.38 trillion and outlays of $3.62 trillion, so while we are racking up a record deficit of over $1.3 trillion, we have experienced crisis before and come out of it, and will do so again this time. It is the scale and growth of government overall that we must be concerned with.
A look at receipts and outlays in each decade since World War II shows a startling increase in the size of government that we somehow must learn to control. The growth in overall government spending grew by 74.2 percent from 1950 to 1960; by 92.2 percent from 1960 to 1970; by 168 percent from 1970 to 1980; by 100 percent from 1980 to 1990; by 96.2 percent during the 1990s and since 2000 it is projected to grow by 133 percent.[1]

The true measure of this spending growth must be judged compared to population growth. A chart comparing these factors follows. Population is measured in thousands. While population has grown steadily albeit slowly, spending has skyrocketed out of control.  [2]

The more the federal government spends, the more state and local governments grow, and the overall tax burden on our population, requiring two or three family members to work to stay ahead, continues to increase. Where and when will this come to a head? It likely already has, but stay tuned for more. Another federal stimulus package is likely!

[1] All estimates taken from the Economic Report of the President and the FY 2010 Budget
[2] Population figures taken from the U.S. Department of Commerce Census Bureau

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