Charts Of The Day: 111 Years Of Federal Tax And Spending

Tyler Durden's picture




 

With US Federal tax (mostly) and spending (far less) policy having become two of the key issues of the ongoing presidential debate, we wish to present to our readers 111 years of US revenue and spending data, both in absolute terms, and as a percentage of GDP.

Two things to observe:

  1. Between the passage of the 16th Amendment, which ushered in the modern Federal income tax, in 1913, and the end of WW I, the US somehow managed to exist with only 2% of Federal tax revenue as a % of GDP. Then the war ended, and it was all downhill from there, with Federal tax as a % of GDP first flatlining around 5-6% of GDP, and then after WW II, it found a new home just shy of 20%. One wonders what the new benchmark support for US Federal tax will be after the next global war.
  2. Spending, unlike taxes, have been far more erratic, and far larger on average, than Tax revenues. In fact, in the 82 years after 1930, there have been only 14 budget surpluses. Of note: the four years of Clinton budget surpluses between 1998 and 2001 were the first time Federal tax revenues surpassed spending since 1969. Judging by the recent explosion in government spending, which we doubt will ever be reduced to historical trendline again, the US can kiss the concept of budget surplus goodbye for ever.

Federal tax and spending in absolute dollars - 1900-2011:

Federal tax and spending as % of GDP - 1900-2011:

0
Your rating: None
 

- advertisements -

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Tue, 10/09/2012 - 09:42 | 2870457 FOC 1183
FOC 1183's picture

But...who built this?  (good work Tyler)

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 09:43 | 2870460 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

Don't bleme the Fed......they're only 99 years old......should have everything fixed once they reach 100.

 

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 09:52 | 2870485 MillionDollarBonus_
MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

When is our government going to start cracking down on offshore tax-free corporate accounts?? It is fundamentally immoral to deny politicians their fair share of your property. If politicians had been able to take this money, they almost certainly would have used it to pay down the deficit, which would have reduced the tax burden on ordinary Americans.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 09:56 | 2870505 ATM
ATM's picture

Why would a businesses operations, profits and losses that are already taxed in the country of origin also somehow be taxable in the US?

You're a dumbshit paid troll of the leftists cabal. Die already.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:01 | 2870523 Stackers
Stackers's picture

I suppose it is just coincidence that the green bars explode in size starting in 1971 ...........

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:10 | 2870565 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

We almost impeached the guy responsible for that.....but somehow he got away.....when he died we buried with honors.

 

We showed him who's boss.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:42 | 2870754 redpill
redpill's picture

OT: there a ZH story on this incident yet? http://www.cnbc.com/id/49333454

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 11:01 | 2871093 Boondocker
Boondocker's picture

ZH has been covering this for a year....

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 11:11 | 2871133 redpill
redpill's picture

In general, yes, but I'm referring to this specific algo.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:32 | 2870646 Taint Boil
Taint Boil's picture

 

 

1971 ........ hmmmmm What. Could. It. Be... Let me go check with Ron Paul and I'll get back to ya ......

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:08 | 2870558 MillionDollarBonus_
MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

I don't care about the legal issues. I'm a moral philosopher - All I care about is whether an action is right or wrong. Is it right to deny politicians the right to redistribute your property? Is it right to trade with individuals outside of the geographical borders in which you were born? Who has more of a right to redistribute your property - the politicians within the borders of your birth, or those within the borders of your business? These are all fundamental moral questions that need to be discussed.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:19 | 2870596 jcpicks
jcpicks's picture

Morally, we're screwed.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:37 | 2870662 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

Haven't seen any of that crap since the 50s.

 

Most readers here weren't even alive then.

 

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 11:17 | 2871164 redpill
redpill's picture

'It may be necessary to use methods other than constitutional ones.'

-Bob Mugabe

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:20 | 2870601 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

It's like fishing in a barrel for you. You real a bunch in every time.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 11:12 | 2871139 DRT RD
DRT RD's picture

"real" should be reel.  Sorry, I feel anal this morning!

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 11:47 | 2871296 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

That's alright. I don't get bent out of shape when somebody corrects my lack of thinking.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:21 | 2870605 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

You haven't been funny for months.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 11:24 | 2871190 Crisismode
Crisismode's picture

"You aren't funny now, and frankly, you never were."

 

There, fixed it for you.

Wed, 10/10/2012 - 09:49 | 2874600 JimBowie1958
JimBowie1958's picture

The mark of truly good satire is that average people get it, but morons dont.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:21 | 2870606 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

It's the concept of morality that needs to be discussed.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:24 | 2870612 johnQpublic
johnQpublic's picture

when i read your posts MDB, i do it with a Latka voice in my head

i believe you are some sort of andy kaufman-esque political comedian

but not quite a bill hicks

 

+1

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:26 | 2870618 ultraticum
ultraticum's picture

Maoist Dumbass Bastard, how do you implement your "moral" system on people who recognize no "politicians within the borders of your birth"?

Would that be through a monopoly on violent force perhaps?  I'm sure that also fits well in your "moral" view of the world.

Troll.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 11:00 | 2871086 csmith
csmith's picture

These are all fundamental moral questions that need to be discussed.

OK. Here's one:

Is it right to degrade individual initiative (via regulation and taxes) to the point of hopelessness?

Any society which values equality above freedom ends up with neither.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 01:33 | 2907391 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

That's not moral or legal.

Is it right to deny politicians the right to redistribute your property?

The highest and most powerful right, of course it is right. Such redistribution is murder upon us all. Starting with our food supplies and shelter, moving on to any right to live anywhere or eat anywhere.

Is it right to trade with individuals outside of the geographical borders in which you were born?

Always. The right to trade is a human right no less important than the right to air and water.

Who has more of a right to redistribute your property - the politicians within the borders of your birth, or those within the borders of your business?

No one - anyone redistributing my property is a criminal due to be stopped using lethal force. You can take that one to the bank - it is a human right to deal death upon those who distribute the property of others without consent.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:26 | 2870621 M4570D0N
M4570D0N's picture

Your sarcasm meter is borked.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:26 | 2870620 chunkylover42
chunkylover42's picture

Meh, you're trying too hard with this one.  You've had much better in the past, this one is too obvious.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:41 | 2870728 JimBowie1958
JimBowie1958's picture

When is our government going to start cracking down on offshore tax-free corporate accounts?? It is fundamentally immoral to deny politicians their fair share of your property. If politicians had been able to take this money, they almost certainly would have used it to pay down the deficit, which would have reduced the tax burden on ordinary Americans.

ROFLMAO!

MDB, you are one of the best satirists on ZH.

Thank you for lightening my mood. ZH can be so damned depressing at times. Well, almost all the time.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 09:51 | 2870490 Monedas
Monedas's picture

With the Fed Ponzi we taxed the Socialist world to pay for it's military containment and re-education and demise !   I call that one of those snail on the thorn kind a thingy's !

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:58 | 2871078 VelvetHog
VelvetHog's picture

They've already fixed it (from their point of view).

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 21:44 | 2871903 dugorama
dugorama's picture

Waco, Ruby Ridge and Monica aside, the only sustained improvment is in the Clinton term... remind me again why we like to hate on peace and prosperity?

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 09:46 | 2870464 darteaus
darteaus's picture

The conservative Republican controlled House of Representatives generated surplus budget that Clinton signed.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 09:51 | 2870478 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

I've got a signed copy of the blue dress. Bill did that.....and he'll do it again.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 09:59 | 2870483 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

You are not familiar with "mark to fantasy" accounting are you?  That is correct hoewever, it was the GOP-controlled house that removed the last of the regulations on wall street and the banking sector.  Paving the way for MBS and derivative trading.

"Winning".  Execute ALL of them.  Neither political party is worth a shit. Start over.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:47 | 2870847 FrankDrakman
FrankDrakman's picture

That is correct hoewever, it was the GOP-controlled house that removed the last of the regulations on wall street and the banking sector. Paving the way for MBS

What, are you an idiot? The first CDO's were issued in 1987 by Drexel. The House under Clinton didn't have to pave the way for MBS; they were already there.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 11:09 | 2871105 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Wasn't talking about CDOs.  But stop right there, ask yourself, does it change the outcome or central point?  NO, prosecute the fucking fraud ASSHOLE.

We find ourselves here; "The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood."

At least during the savings and loan (runup to CDO bullshit) crisis, some bankers went to prision.  

 

WTF?!?!  Did you have a fucking point dipshit?

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 09:50 | 2870484 spankthebernank
spankthebernank's picture

Whooooosh....right over your head huh?

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 09:52 | 2870491 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

It was either a 747 or a 757.....but in the heat of battle it didn't occur to me to count the engines.

 

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:07 | 2870551 mvsjcl
mvsjcl's picture

Those planes took-off during the Clinton administration, but didn't "land" until Bush took office. Magic fuel?

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:16 | 2870576 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

Freakin Bush.......we just can't get rid of that evil bastard!

 

We sent in Seal team five......and those cats got smoked....and that's how Seal team six came into being.

 

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 09:50 | 2870486 tradebot
tradebot's picture

And Clinton was kicking and screaming when he signed it!

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:16 | 2870588 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

True, about as much as Bush Jr. when he signed TARP/TALF.  Several occasions when individuals from both parties could have stopped the madness.  My guess is that they did not want to end up like Kennedy.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 11:32 | 2871204 SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

"Several occasions when individuals from both parties could have momentarily delayed the madness, after which it would have been amplified even more."

My guess is that they did not want to end up like Keddafy.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 09:59 | 2870515 ATM
ATM's picture

Or Greenspan blew a bubble in tech stocks that increased government tax receipts via cap gains/income. Both the bubble and the congress limiting spending had a powerful effect on those perceived surplusses. Perceived because they were a phantom created by the Fed mostly through cheapened money.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:00 | 2870519 fuu
fuu's picture

http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/craigsteiner/2011/08/22/the_clinton_surplus_myth/page/full/

"Notice that while the public debt went down in each of those four years, the intragovernmental holdings went up each year by a far greater amount--and, in turn, the total national debt (which is public debt + intragovernmental holdings) went up. Therein lies the discrepancy."

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:03 | 2870534 jpmrwb
jpmrwb's picture

Fuu,

You have it 100% correct. It is hard to have a surplus that does not subtract from the national debt. Surplus=lower national debt. The national debt did not decrease.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 22:01 | 2873280 dugorama
dugorama's picture

Clinton's moral compass aside, whether merely a postive cash flow or a true postive budget or whatever, being close to zero and never sending US boots on the ground anywhere sounds pretty darn good.  After the last 12 years of drunken sailors in port spending all their political capital as fast as they can,  take me back home to slick willy.  i now willingly forgive him his tryst(s) and dubious claims.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:02 | 2870530 GeezerGeek
GeezerGeek's picture

Too bad the Republicans in control back then didn't stay fiscally conservative. Too bad they didn't have a conservative president to collaborate with from 2001-2006.

Let's not forget to give credit where credit is due: the Democrats controlled the House and the Senate when budget deficits first exceeded $1 Trillion. Now that we no longer have budgets, it's hard to tell who to blame.

And I really don't get why anyone would give a negative vote to a dimple fact like that stated by darteaus. Perhaps they prefer convenient lies to inconvenient truths.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 10:27 | 2870623 johnQpublic
johnQpublic's picture

social security, lock box, yada, remember?

surplus came from looting social security.period.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 09:50 | 2870474 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Have faith all ZH followers.  That which cannot be sustained, won't be sutained.  Prepare.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!