Friday, January 25, 2013

The Non-Issue Of the Spending Explosion Of The Last 4 Years

I'm traveling so I haven't had the time to do a market wrap.  However, I did want to highlight this point, which has been made by several others.  The following graph is from the Monthly Budget Review issued by the CBO:

Total federal outlays increased between 2007 and 2009.  The reason?  We had a recession and the federal government increased spending to prevent mass starvation.  However, notice that for the three years since 2009, spending has been stable.  Total outlays were $3,518 trillion in 2009 and is $3,538 trillion in 2012.  Also note that the deficits percentage of GDP decrease from 10.1% in 2009 to 7% in 2012.  No, this is not great, but it does show there has been an improvement. 

Let's look at what we've spent that money on:

Defense outlays have been stable, as have medicare and Medicaid payments.  We do see an increase in Social Security benefits, but that is to be expected considering the baby boomers are starting to retire. 

Also consider this graph from the same report (which I've preveiously shown using data from the St. Louis FRED system):

The big issue of this graph is that taxes as a percent of GDP are low.  (Also note that this is not leading to robust growth as predicted by Art Laffer and his band of idiots.)