Spending Explosion: Congress increased spending by 21.4% in last two years
We often ride Republicans here for the out of control spending of the past, but according to the Wall Street Journal, the Democratic-controlled Congress has increased spending by 21.4% over the last two years:
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. But don’t think this means Washington was relatively less spendthrift. CBO reports that the modest overall spending decline results from three one-time events.
The costs of 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,” CBO says.
Somewhat faster. You’ve got to laugh, or cry, when a 9% annual increase qualifies as only “somewhat faster” than normal.
What did Washington spend more money on? Well, despite two wars, defense spending rose by 4.7% to $667 billion, down from an annual average increase of 8% from 2005 to 2009.
Once again domestic accounts far and away led the increases. Medicaid rose by 8.7%, and unemployment benefits by an astonishing 34.3%—to $160 billion. The costs of jobless insurance have tripled in two years. 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% in 2010.
As for the deficits, the 2010 total was $1.29 trillion, down slightly from $1.42 trillion. That’s a two-year total of $2.7 trillion, or more than the entire amount during the Reagan Administration, when deficits were supposed to be ruinous. Now liberal economists tell us that deficits are the key to restoring prosperity. But all we have to show for spending nearly 25% of GDP for two years running is a growth rate of 1.7% and 9.6% unemployment.
There is still reason to believe that Republicans are all talk and no action on spending. A recent bill tally by the National Taxpayers Union shows Republicans to be supporting more bills that increase spending than cut it. The argument they can claim is that they are for less spending then Democrats, who have absolutely no credibility when it comes to deficits.