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Federal Spending Up 40 Percent Since 2019

Posted on Friday, March 24, 2023
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by Outside Contributor
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18 Comments

 

Federal spending jumped from $4.45 trillion in 2019 to $6.21 trillion in 2023, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That is a 40 percent increase in four years. The pandemic supercharged the federal budget, and spending and deficits are expected to continue rising unless policymakers pursue major reforms.

What is all the new spending since 2019? The answer is surprising, as shown in the two tables below. The main drivers of the recent increases have not been the largest three programs—Social Security, Medicare, and defense—but rather rapid growth in numerous other programs.

Table 1 shows CBO spending for 2019 and baseline estimates for 2023. The largest increases have been nondefense discretionary, Medicaid, veterans, food stamps, health tax credits, welfare, school food programs, and interest. All data in both tables are fiscal year outlays.

Some of the 2023 spending is temporary and should decline in coming years, such as the PBGC aid and education pandemic aid. Nonetheless, CBO projects baseline spending to rise at an annual average rate of 4.8 percent over the coming decade. The projections show that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will be the main growth drivers ahead, but the past four years show that other programs will also grow rapidly if not controlled.

What about Ukraine? CRFB tallies the total authorized (but not necessarily spent) funding so far as $67 billion for defense aid and $46 billion for nondefense aid. If I am reading CBO correctly, they estimate that about $36 billion of the defense aid will be spent this fiscal year.

Table 2 shows spending data from President Biden’s recent budget broken out by major agency. The budget puts the increase between 2019 and 2023 at 43 percent, and Biden is proposing an 8 percent increase for 2024. The data are from Table 4.1 here.

What programs are behind the largest increases in the table? Agriculture: food stamps. Education: college aid and pandemic school aid. HUD: numerous programs. Labor: PBGC aid to troubled pension plans. Treasury: interest costs. EPA: state grants. International Aid: Ukraine. SBA: disaster loans.

Republicans led the way on spending increases in 2020, and then handed the big government baton to the Democrats for 2021 and 2022. Now some Republicans want to reverse course and leverage the upcoming debt limit debate to start cutting. What should they target?

How about a “last in first out” strategy? Reformers could push for cuts to the programs that have grown the most since 2019. Medicaid, food stamps, education aid, housing programs, welfare, the EPA, and international aid would all be good targets to downsize.

By the way, outlays from 2019 to 2023 are up 47 percent for the operations of the legislative branch and 58 percent for the Executive Office of the President. How about these institutions showing some budget leadership and cutting their own costs?

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tika
tika
11 months ago

we learned that all that government spending changed only one outcome; the destruction of the greatest economy in the history of the world.

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
11 months ago

What I read in these various responses is that the Chi-coms are taking over the US now
(meaning today) not by military war but by subversive methods. Not a shot fired. And they are winning because our lamebrain govt thinks the Chi-coms can be our ” friends”. We will lose our freedom because of stupidity which means we should lose. If you’re dumb, you should lose.
Hello ?

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
11 months ago

Lets just vote democrat , as we did in 2022. and do it again . Ok
Duh. We got what we voted for. No one wants to acknowledge that the dems
won in 2022. Hello ? It will happen again in 2024 if we don’t get it together.
They are organized. We are not. Oh, we can claim Trump hatred. Just a
cop-out. We (whoever we are) got our butts kicked in 2022 when Trump
was not on the ballot. Cut the bs. Most of our nation truly believes that a
commie govt will take care of us because the majority of voters pay NO tax !!
Sounds great.

Hal-
Hal-
11 months ago

DemocRats are stiffing their finanacial accounts and resources recognizing that the chances are slim they can do it more slowly (or at all) after the next elections …. assuming the Republicans can see to it that it does NOT happen in the next POTUS election.

Joanne 4 justice
Joanne 4 justice
11 months ago

Dems actually believe that problem solving = spending HUGE amounts $$$$$$$ to facilitate their narcissistic self serving “wish list(s)” is the answer to current economic problems. Especially , illogical idea to ” spend our way out of DOUBLE DIGIT INFLATION AND BUSINESS AND
BANK SHUTDOWNS AS WELL.
THIS TREND IS VERY VERY
???? SCARY!!!!!

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
11 months ago

We have so many forces against us. Our govt is trying to spend us into bankruptcy. Any business in this condition would be bankrupt by now. The Chi–Coms, Ruskies, and Iran are determined to overtake us. The left has a well-organized program to keep our children stupid. The world is determined to overrun us with illegals and drugs. We elected a president detemined to make us
energy dependent. The world demands that we use no oil while they are allowed to pollute.
The Greenies want us to ride bikes and freeze in the winter. Businesses are sucked into
the DSG and DEI bs. The concept of a nuclear family (mother, father, children) is hated.
Our history is humiliated. How do we handle all of this ?

David Millikan
David Millikan
11 months ago

The real numbers are higher since 1-20-21.

anna hubert
anna hubert
11 months ago

Why worry about China doing harm when we have Feds doing much better job

PaulE
PaulE
11 months ago

This is what I have been pointing out on this site since last December. The 2022 omnibus spending bill that the Dems whipped up and Mitch McConnell signed onto in December of 2022 essentially permanently raised the baseline budget for the federal government from $4.45 trillion to $6.3 trillion dollars.

For those of you who don’t understand how baseline budgeting works, this effectively institutionalized what should have been A ONE-TIME extraordinary Covid era spending event for 2020, which should have then been reset back to the original 2019 $4.45 trillion dollar value once the pandemic effectively ended by early 2021. Instead, Team Biden and the Democrats leveraged “the crisis” (they’re very good at that) as they always do to create a “new normal” in terms of government spending going forward. Don’t forget all those new programs and bureaucracies created by the likes of the so-called Infrastructure Bill that contained very little real infrastructure spending but lots of new climate and social initiatives. Also don’t forget the IRA, which was nothing but a misnamed Climate Change bill and the so-called Chips Act that had used to create a new slush fund for the Democrats to play with. All of the cr@p the Democrats passed and signed into law over 2021 and 2022 greatly expanded the size and scope of the federal government.

As a result, everything is now calculated based on the normal 7 percent annual spending increase off the new, elevated baseline number of $6.3 trillion dollars. Minus defense of course, which the Democrats truly hate despite all the global threats we now face thanks to Biden. That only got a 3 percent bump, which with inflation currently running at “only” 6 percent based on their jiggered numbers represents a 3 percent “cut”. All in all, that’s called institutionalizing the elevated spending to be a permanent fixture of government. Which is why the Biden administration felt completely reasonable when they dropped a $6.9 trillion dollar budget bomb on Congress a few weeks back. Which is also why, to feed the beast, that very same budget proposal contains $4.5 trillion dollars in new taxes and regulatory costs that the American people are expected to pony up. In effect, the federal government wants to double the amount of taxes and regulatory fees the American people send to Washington each and every year.

Now of course the latest budget proposal from the White House is simply that: A proposal. However with history as our guide, after much hemming and hawing and negotiations going back and forth between the two parties, right up until the very last second, the final budget passed into law will reflect about 85% to 90% of what was “proposed”. That’s how it usually plays out. So dig deep into your pockets America, because in many ways we are going to be paying European style tax rates and our economy will be slowing to the moribund growth rates seen all across Europe. Elections, whether they are honest or not, do indeed matter and we’re still a long way from 2024 and the next mass mail-in balloting fiasco.

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