Per Capita Federal Spending Up Sevenfold Since 1941

Real per capita federal spending has increased more than sevenfold since fiscal 1941, which concluded on June 30 of that year — or about five months before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. In fiscal 1941, real per capita federal spending was approximately $1,718. In fiscal 2017, which concluded at the end of September, it was about $12,239. Back in 1941, at the beginning of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s unprecedented third presidential term, the federal government spent $13,653,000,000, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget. Although that was a massive increase from the $4,598,000,000 the federal government had spent in 1933, when Roosevelt first took office, it was a pittance compared to what it would spend in the years to come. The national population was about 133,402,471 in 1941, according to the Census Bureau, which means the approximately $13,653,000,000 shoveled out by the Treasury that year equaled $102.34 per capita. Converted into September 2017 dollars using the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator, that equals $1,718.33 in real per capita federal spending. Over the next four years, as the United States fought a world war in both Europe and the Pacific, real per capita spending understandably escalated. In fiscal 1945, at the height of the war, federal spending hit $92,712,000,000 while the national population reached 139,928,165. Per capita spending that year was $662.57 or $9,035.08 in 2017 dollars. Federal spending initially tailed off after the war, but it did not return to prewar levels. By fiscal 1948, it was down to $29,764,000,000. With the population at 146,631,302, that equaled about $202.99 in per capita spending or $2,078.91 in 2017 dollars. That $2,078.91 in real per capita spending in fiscal 1948 was still $360.58 (or about 21 percent) higher than the real per capita spending of $1,718.33 in fiscal 1941. In fiscal 2017, the federal government spent $3,982,000,000,000, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s Monthly Budget Review. With the Census Bureau estimating that the population was 325,344,115 as of July, that makes per capita federal spending in fiscal 2017 about $12,239.35. That is $3,204.27 (or about 35 percent) higher than the $9,035.08 in real per capita spending in fiscal 1945 — at the height of World War II. It is more than seven times greater than the $1,718.33 in real per capita spending the federal government did in fiscal 1941 — the last fiscal year before World War II. Measured against the population of the country, the federal government is now seven times bigger than it was when FDR started his third term. Is it seven times better? What are Americans getting for this massive increase in the federal government?

Some really good questions…  To read the answer to those questions, and the rest of the article, click on the text above.  Our federal government is WAY too big and out of control.  We need to demand from our federally elected officials that they reduce the size and scope of the federal government, and return to a more “limited government.”  Of course, one way to do that is to make massive tax cuts.  After all, the money we send to Washington, D.C. is their source of power….over us.  So, next time there is an election, vote for that candidate who will cut your taxes the most.

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