Tuesday, January 24, 2012

1952: Government Receipts and Expenditures

I'm including information on the 1950 and 1951 federal budget situation in this post, and will continue to look at federal expenditures and receipts from this point going forward as part of the Bonddad Economic History Project.  

This is interesting.  First, here is the chart of federal receipts and expenditures from the BEA:

The red lines are receipts and the blue lines are expenditures.  Notice that, according to BEA data, the government ran a surplus from 1Q50 to 4Q52.  However, according to the then prevailing information, the government ran a deficit:

 So -- why the difference.  My guess is the BEAs data is the result of a far more complete data set being available for the measurement.

Here's a graphical picture of the above chart:

The above chart shows the increase in the deficit as measured in the 1950s occurred in the second half.  My guess is, given the lack of computerization in the 1950s, the second half had a much stronger revenue collection than previously estimated by the Treasury.

By the end of 1952, US nominal GDP was $371.4 billion and the total public debt outstanding was $267.4 billion, giving us a debt/GDP ratio of 72% -- a very manageable amount.

The above table shows that the vast majority of the federal governments expenditures went for wars time spending, as defense spending accounted for 71% all federal spending.  Here's a graph of the data:

The above chart places the Korean War expenditures in graphical form, shows the extreme amount of distortion caused by the war spending.