NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

More For Government, Less For Defense

November 17, 1997

Figures recently released by the Congressional Budget Office have federal budget watchers coming up with some interesting conclusions.

  • As a percentage of gross domestic product, federal spending peaked in 1991 at 22.6 percent and has fallen to an estimated 20.3 percent for the 1997 fiscal year.
  • But that lessened share is almost entirely due to declining defense spending -- down from 5.5 percent of GDP in 1991 to an estimated 3.4 percent now.
  • State and local government spending is up from 8.9 percent of GDP in 1990 to 9.8 percent now -- largely the result of the federal government transferring programs and funding responsibilities to these smaller entities.
  • Federal tax receipts are now an estimated 19.8 percent of GDP with state and local tax takes increasing to an estimated 11.1 percent.

The 30.9 percent total exceeds the previous peaks of 1981 and 1944. The percentages in those years was 30.2 and 25.4, respectively.

So this year's total tax take is the highest in U.S. history.

Source: Peter Brimelow, "Grab, Grab, Grab!" Forbes, November 17, 1997.


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