The way the federal government runs things already is bad enough, but it’ll just get worse in the years ahead, according to the government’s own top-level number crunchers.
In fiscal year 2011 — Oct. 1, 2010, to Sept. 30, 2011 — the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that the federal government spent $3.6 trillion, or 24 percent of the gross domestic product — 24 percent of the monetary value of all the goods and services produced in the United States in that year, the highest federal-spending-to-GDP ratio since World War II.
Federal outlays averaged 19.6 percent and 19.8 percent of GDP, respectively, during the George W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations.
The CBO reports that total federal tax revenues in fiscal year 2011 were $2.2 trillion, against $3.6 trillion in spending, producing a shortfall of nearly $1.4 trillion in red ink — a $1.4 trillion deficit added to the federal debt and paid for by borrowing and delivering the bill to future taxpayers.
Social Security payouts by the federal government in fiscal 2011 totaled $731 billion. Another $769 billion was paid out in federal benefits during the same period in three health insurance programs — Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. An additional $230 billion went for interest payments on the federal debt.
In just these three categories — Social Security, the aforementioned health insurance programs and interest payments on the debt — federal payouts consumed 79 percent of the total tax revenues collected by the federal government in fiscal 2011.