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:

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FOC 1183's picture

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

GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

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

 

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.

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.

Stackers's picture

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

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.

Boondocker's picture

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

redpill's picture

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

Taint Boil's picture

 

 

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

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.

GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

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

 

Most readers here weren't even alive then.

 

redpill's picture

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

-Bob Mugabe

Dr. Engali's picture

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

DRT RD's picture

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

Dr. Engali's picture

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

NidStyles's picture

You haven't been funny for months.

Crisismode's picture

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

 

There, fixed it for you.

JimBowie1958's picture

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

Anusocracy's picture

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

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

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.

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.

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.

M4570D0N's picture

Your sarcasm meter is borked.

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.

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.

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 !

VelvetHog's picture

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

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?

darteaus's picture

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

GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

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

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.

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.

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?

spankthebernank's picture

Whooooosh....right over your head huh?

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.

 

mvsjcl's picture

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

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.

 

tradebot's picture

And Clinton was kicking and screaming when he signed it!

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

johnQpublic's picture

social security, lock box, yada, remember?

surplus came from looting social security.period.

LawsofPhysics's picture

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