Few commentators bother to look back three years and compare federal spending in 2007 with that of 2010. Remarkably, Washington spends $1 trillion more a year now than it did a mere three years ago.
As every constituency fights to protect its herd of sacred cows, there's certainly no shortage of political jockeying in the battle over the 2012 federal budget. What's missing, however, is this simple question: What exactly are we getting for the extra $1 trillion a year the federal government is now spending?
Few commentators bother to look back three years and compare federal spending in 2007 with that of 2010. Remarkably, Washington spends $1 trillion more a year now than it did a mere three years ago. Here are the numbers from the Office of Management and Budget website (I include the 2004 figures for context):
2004 -- Revenues: $1.88 trillion. Spending: $2.29 trillion. Deficit: $412 billion
2007 -- Revenues: $2.56 trillion. Spending: $2.72 trillion. Deficit: $160 billion
2010 -- Revenues: $2.16 trillion. Spending: $3.72 trillion. Deficit: $1.3 trillion
In the three years from 2007 to 2010, federal spending jumped almost exactly $1 trillion, or 36.7%.
Here are the deficits of the past three years and the estimated shortfalls for fiscal years 2011 and 2012:
2008: $0.5 trillion
2009: $1.4 trillion
2010: $1.3 trillion
2011: $1.5 trillion (est.)
2012: $1.6 trillion (est.)
Total: $6.26 trillion in five years
Publicly Held Debt Jumped 80%
And this isn't even the real total being added to the national debt because "supplemental appropriations" for war costs and other large expenditures are "off-budget" and not included in the "official" federal deficit. The same is also true of funds appropriated to bail out mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and other financial institutions.
Gross debt increased by $1 trillion in fiscal year 2008, $1.9 trillion in 2009 and $1.7 trillion in 2010 -- considerably higher than the "official" deficit numbers. Debt held by the public, which includes Treasury bonds owned by the central banks of China, Japan and other countries, jumped 80% from $5 trillion in 2007 to $9 trillion in 2010.