News Story

Washington's Bi-Partisan Spending Binge

Federal spending explodes no matter which party is in power

Federal spending per household in the 21st century has increased dramatically and accounted for nearly half of the average American household's income in 2009, according to Mercatus Center Senior Research Fellow Veronique de Rugy.

The Mercatus Center is an education and research organization at George Mason University.

Federal spending was at $32,934 per household, about 48.4 percent of the average household income in 2009. In 2010, the federal government has spent $30,174 per American household thus far. That's down from 2009 because the increased spending for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae has ended.

de Rugy said her figures didn't include state and local government spending.

"The 21st century hasn't been good for taxpayers so far," de Rugy said. "Big government, whether Republican or Democrat, is just not good for taxpayers. And a big chunk of that is borrowed."

In 1985, the federal government spent 36 percent of the average household's income at about $20,000 in real 2010 dollars. In 2001, government spending was $21,891 per household and jumped to $25,596 in 2007 under President George W. Bush.

Tad DeHaven, budget analyst on federal and state budget issues for the Cato Institute, said both Democrats and Republican share in the responsibility for the spending spree.

"The administration of George W. Bush will be remembered for overseeing one of the largest spending binges in U.S. history," DeHaven wrote in an e-mail. "Unfortunately, the Obama administration has not only continued the Bush profligacy, it has expanded upon it. It is important to understand that the massive increase in federal spending and debt over the past decade has been a bipartisan affair."


See also: 

Michigan's GOP Congressional Team Scored Less 'Pro Growth' Than Party Peers in D.C. for 2008

Hoekstra Is Only Above-Average GOP U.S. Rep. on 'Pro-Growth'Congressional Scorecard

Candice Miller Says She Will Be Pork-Free in 2010


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Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.