NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Cost of Government Climbs

July 16, 2003

State and federal spending has increased dramatically in the past three years, according to Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). Americans this year will work four and a half days later than last year to pay for spending on programs and the cost of complying with federal and state regulations. ATR combines these costs to calculate the "Cost of Government," which fell on July 11 this year.

According to the ATR, federal spending accounts for more than 45 percent of the total cost of government and 71 percent of the increase in the cost of government this year.

  • In fiscal year 2002, non-defense discretionary spending increased 12.3 percent with major increases coming in education, transportation, health and justice.
  • Through the fiscal year 2003, Medicare spending is up by 9 percent on top of last year's 10 percent, and Medicaid spending is up by 10 percent -- on top of last year's 15 percent increase.
  • The largest percentage increase in the federal budget came from increased spending on unemployment insurance funding, which has doubled over the past two years as Congress extended benefits.
  • Americans now work until July 11 to pay for all of government, 4.5 days more than last year and the third straight increase after eight years of decline.
  • Taken as a percentage of the calendar -- 193 days out of 365 -- ATR says the cost of government consumes nearly 53 percent of national income.

The ATR estimates the total cost of federal and state regulations in 2003 was $1.6 trillion.

Source: "ATR Numbers Show Spike In Government Spending, Regulation Under Bush," White House Bulletin, July 11, 2003.


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