Thursday, July 1, 2010

Where our Federal Tax Dollars Go

Looking at the Outlays by Function graph, one can see a high level view of where the money goes that the federal government spends. However, it's always easier to analyze data visual than to just look at raw numbers, so I created some charts for myself to look at.
As you can see Social Security and National defense are the biggest expenses followed by Income Security, Medicare, other Health costs, and the CommerceHousing Credit. One thing I noticed is that Commerce is normally a much smaller percentage of the budget. It was skewed by the Troubled Asset Relief Program(TARP). However, the other 5 categories are about the same size for 2009 as 2008. Despite, the TARP skewing, those 5 categories still cover over 70% of all U.S. spending. Off course, that list is the total expenditures list. What about taking a look at the "on-budget" only. This would be interesting since the "off-budget" items (are supposed to) pay for themselves.
Wow, what a difference taking away off-budget items does to the numbers. All the numbers changed around, but there was only one change in the top 5 most expensive categories. Social Security is towards the bottom and now Net Interest is now the fifth highest expense. I know why Social Security dropped off so much, but what about net interest? When taking away off-budget outlays, it's expenses went up by 120 billion. So much so that interest on past debt is 10% of the budget. I think I'd like to spend some time researching why it shoots up so much.
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