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Federal spending since 1962

A great graph from Catherine Rampell:


The major trend here is health-care spending rising and defense spending falling.

By Ezra Klein  |  February 2, 2010; 11:10 AM ET
Categories:  Charts and Graphs  
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What's the increase in 'Treasury' spending?

Posted by: AronB | February 2, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, what AronB said-- that's the trend I had not expected.

Posted by: adamiani | February 2, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Misleading graph because it includes social security which has its own funding source, so it shouldn't be included as govt spending. Same for medicare, which has its own dedicated tax. The fact that medicare is going to be insolvent in the next 20 years is not relevant now.

Without these entitlement programs, Defense spending is growing compared to the other discretionary spending (programs funded by general govt revenues.)

Posted by: srw3 | February 2, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

also, where is the black funding for CIA NSA etc included in this graph? And a correction, I should have said "Defense spending is probably growing or at least stable compared to other discretionary spending." Does this graph include the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? The cost of these two wars dwarfs all other funding except for HHS, I would guess.

Posted by: srw3 | February 2, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, but you didn't really get it right. The correct statement: huge defense spending is continuing, while health costs are exploding.

How to measure defense spending? The same as experts always have -- as a percentage of GDP.

Posted by: HalHorvath | February 2, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

A third major trend is the growth of the blue "treasury" expenditures -- interest payments on past deficits. The major reason we cannot live within our means today is because we didn't live within our means in the past.

Posted by: MOmark | February 2, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Increases in Treasury spending probably takes in interest payments and perhaps federal pensions.

Here's an interesting resource -- note that in one of the dropdowns you can specify "%gdp" and you can switch to line graphs from bar graphs. Date range can be adjusted and all manner of fine tuning is possible.

Posted by: bdballard | February 2, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I can't help but notice (at the top of the graph) that there was a recent jump in the percentage of federal spending going to allowances. This is disheartening; speaking for myself I have held my son's allowance steady in spite of his incessant and greedy demands for more, more, more!

Posted by: bdballard | February 2, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Actually, increases in Treasury outlays reflect the massive growth of refundable tax credits. EITC alone accounts for a very large part of that increase.

Posted by: WoodbridgeVa1 | February 2, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

The offical budgets of the Bush years did not include military spending for Iraq and Afghanistan and other similar things. If this graph is based on official budget figures, then it is as misleading as Bush was.

Posted by: Lomillialor | February 2, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

most beautiful graph.
"sand in a bottle"

Posted by: jkaren | February 2, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

It also shows Social Security spending pretty much flat or declining.

If the graph would separate the Disability Program from the Old Age Pension it would show the Old Age Pension portion declining even more than the current chart.

Posted by: cautious | February 2, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

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