NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The 2010 Spending Record

October 13, 2010

Late last week the Congressional Budget Office released its preliminary budget tallies for fiscal year 2010, and the news is that the U.S. government had another fabulous year -- in spending your money, says the Wall Street Journal.

  • Spending rolled in for the year that ended September 30 at $3.45 trillion, second only to 2009's $3.52 trillion in the record books.
  • The costs of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) declined by $262 billion from 2009 as banks repaid their bailout cash, payments to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were $51 billion lower (though still a $40 billion net loser for the taxpayer), and deposit insurance payments fell by $55 billion year over year.
  • "Excluding those three programs, spending rose by about 9 percent in 2010, somewhat faster than in recent years," the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says.

What did Washington spend more money on?  Once again domestic accounts far and away led the increases, says the Journal.

  • Medicaid rose by 8.7 percent and unemployment benefits by an astonishing 34.3 percent -- to $160 billion.
  • The CBO adds that if you take out the savings for deposit insurance, funding for all "other activities" of government -- education, transportation, foreign aid, housing and so on -- rose by 13 percent in 2010.

By far the biggest percentage-gain revenue winner for the taxpayer in 2010 was the Federal Reserve.  Thanks to the expansion of its balance sheet with riskier assets, the Fed earned $76 billion during the year, a 121 percent increase.  

The Fed's windfall is a perfect symbol of our current economic policy.  The government is making money because it now controls so much capital, but it is robbing that money from the private economy in the process, says the Journal.

Source: "The 2010 Spending Record," Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2010.

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