The Pathos of Politics (88-5) Federal Budget

 Federal Budget

No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law. ~ US Constitution, Article 1, §9

Every year the President submits a budget request to Congress, which then has its way with it. The President must then approve, or veto, the budget that Congress wrought.

Congress chronically fails miserably in passing an annual budget, which is the most basic responsibility of lawmakers. In lieu of doing their work, Congress has relied upon a series of stopgap measures.

In fiscal year 2015, the federal budget was $3.8 trillion: about $12,000 for every human in the country, which had a median income of $50,000. This expenditure represented 21% of the US GDP. That year, the federal government spent $560 billion more than it took in; a typical deficit in percentage terms (15%).

In 2015, $2.5 trillion of the federal budget went to social-welfare programs. $900 billion was doled out on defense. $230 billion serviced interest on accumulated federal debt.

The federal budget soared to over 40% of GDP during World War 2; an aberration that pulled the country of the Depression, and so did the economy no relative harm.

US federal government spending as a percentage of GDP rose from 3% in 1930 to 20% by 1975; only dipping modestly during Bill Clinton’s presidency (1991–2000).

The federal deficit then rose abruptly, to 24% of GDP, during the profligate reign of George Bush Jr. (2001–2008). It was a reckless stimulus; creating the economic conditions for the financial crash of 2008 and subsequent Great Recession.

In 2017, after the election of Donald Trump as US President, the Republican Congress granted massive largesse to the largest corporations and richest Americans. (The timing of the Trump tax cuts for those who did not need them was remarkable in that the economy had finally revived from the 2008 recession: the government was kindling fire in the economy when the economy was already ablaze.) The result was a rapid ballooning of the federal government deficit: a remarkable feat considering the economy was positively vibrant, when historically deficits drop because maximal tax revenues flow in.

Despite perpetual vows of fiscal rectitude, Republican administrations since Nixon have repeatedly ran budget deficits, with increasing magnitude into the 21st century. The Trumpian-Republican whoring of the federal budget to the rich marked a milestone in fiscal debauchery.