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Federal Budget: 1990 – 2019 August 13, 2019

Posted by geoff in News.

A lot of people squawk about the budget, but most people just cherrypick the data to score a political point.

Not here at IB. Here at IB, we crank through chart after chart after painful chart to drag our weary brains to the truth. Because masochistic pedantry is what we like. Or what I like, at least.

So here’s what you owe (actual data through 2018, 2019 is CBO projection as of May):

Public Debt 1990-2019

A little depressing, no? “But,” you ask, “is it the fault of spending or of revenues?

I knew you wanted to know that, so I made this nice little chart for you:

Outlays 1990-2019

So discretionary outlays (of which half are spent on defense) aren’t really hurting us, but the big jump in mandatory outlays in 2009 has led us to a “new normal” where mandatory spending has risen from 10% to 12.5% of GDP.

As you can see from the debt increase, the new level of mandatory spending is unsustainable at our current revenue rates, which, BTW, are:


Kind of where they’ve always been.

Pretty clear that discretionary spending has recovered from its highs during the recession (I’m sure we all recall the spectacularly unsuccessful stimulus), and revenues have recovered from their lows during the recession, but the permanent increase in mandatory spending is sinking our battleship.

That increase is not really a Bush vs. Obama thing. It’s more a Nancy Pelosi/Harry Reid kind of thing.


1. Jimbro - August 13, 2019

I like the charts and the Economics For Dummies* explanations

* Present company excluded of course

2. Bunk Strutts - August 14, 2019

Cool. Now show a graph of military spending vs. entitlement spending, and compare both to the entire US *ahem* budget.

3. Bunk Strutts - August 14, 2019

A couple years ago I cranked some numbers about the minimum wage, culled from the US Bureau of Stuff. Sure, it’s blogwhoring, but so what. I like this place.


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