Friday, March 31, 2006

That's how my money's spent?

[Reports and details on U.S. spending proposals can be found at the United States Office of Management and Budget]

You setup your own household budget, carefully watch it to stay within your means and check it monthly to be sure your still on target. So, now that your on top of your own discretionary spending, ever get curiously about how your trusted national leaders are doling out your hard earned tax bucks.

Here are some highlights: please visit the Office of Management and Budget for visually better tables that I wasn't able to import due to Blogger's software.

Proposed Budget Totals (Dollar amounts in billions) for 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

Budget Totals:
     Receipts 2,154 2,285 2,416 2,590 2,714 2,878 3,035
     Outlays 2,472 2,709 2,770 2,814 2,922 3,061 3,240
     Deficit −318 −423 −354 −223 −208 −183 −205
GDP 12,290 13,030 13,761 14,521 15,296 16,102 16,955
Budget Totals as a Percent of GDP:
     Receipts 17.5% 17.5% 17.6% 17.8% 17.7% 17.9% 17.9%
     Outlays 20.1% 20.8% 20.1% 19.4% 19.1% 19.0% 19.1%
     Deficit −2.6% −3.2% −2.6% −1.5% −1.4% −1.1% −1.2%

Notice that we don't start lowering the deficit 'til 2007, and we actually raised it again for this year's spending spree. Notice, too, that even though executive leadership has promised to address balancing the budget in the next five years, the deficit declines for the next four years (I applaud them for that) but then it begins moving back up the following year in 2011 (what gives?, is that where they call it "good enough").

Another thing to consider, the "Receipts" figures assumes an increase of 6-7% per year in income (individual and corporation taxes, and social insurance and retirement receipts) for the next five years. Geeee... I hope that happens!

Now, on to Discretionary Spending. This is the amount up for congressional discussion and decision each year, in contrast to Mandatory Funding (e.g., Social Security and Medicare). Keep an eye on how much of the total 2006 amount is being spent on the "Department of Defense" (50%), Homeland Security (4%) and all Other Operations of Government (46%). That's right, half of our optional spending goes on defense and war!

Discretionary Totals (Net budget authority; dollar amounts in billions) for 2006 Enacted, 2007 Request, Change: 2006–2007 Dollar, Percent

Discretionary budget authority:
     Department of Defense 410.8 439.3 28.5 6.9%
     Homeland Security (non-Department of Defense) 32.1 33.1 1.0 3.3%
     Other Operations of Government 400.4 398.3 −2.2 −0.5%

Total, Discretionary budget authority 843.3 870.7 27.3 3.2%

The Growth in Discretionary Budget Authority by Major Agency is even more revealing.

You may notice that the 2007 plan is to spend only 8% on Health and Human Services and only 1/2% on the Corps of Engineers (the guys overseeing those river and lake levies). Ok, you may think that's enough to spend on taking care of the people you don't care about anyway, but then don't complain that we're spending too much on basic social programs. Note: This spending shouldn't be confused with Mandatory HHS spending (mostly for Medicare) that is properly paid for with Social Security receipts.

Growth in Discretionary Budget Authority by Major Agency (Net budget authority; dollar amounts in billions)

Agency, 2001 Actual, 2006 Enacted, 2007 Request, 2006–2007 Dollar Percent, Average 2001–2007, Cumulative 2001–2007

     Health and Human Services 54.0 69.2 67.6 −1.6 −2.3% 3.8% 25.2%
     Corps of Engineers 4.7 5.3 4.7 −0.6 −11.2% 0.2% 1.0%
     Environmental Protection 7.8 7.6 7.3 −0.3 −4.0% −1.1% −6.6%

Total, Discretionary 643.8 843.3 870.7 27.3 3.2% 5.2% 35.2%

If you have the time, go ahead and check on your favoite bugetary items coming up in 2007 and beyond at the United States Office of Management and Budget. See if you find anything that seems a little out of order; take a look a where our national legislatures set our priorities. You elected them, you might want to know if they're doing the job!

Reporting from the underground...

Stan Morris