What The US Government Spends Its Money On

Tyler Durden's picture

The following chart from today's TBAC presentation slidedeck should put to bed all debate of not only what the US government spends its money on (of which about half is generated through tax collection and half is borrowed primarily from either China or the Fed), but also what the trends in current year spending are compared to 2011. In summary: of the 4 biggest categories HHS (Medicare & Madicaid), Social Security or together Welfare, Treasury and Defense, Welfare is higher, Treasury is higher, and Defense is not only lower, but has lost to Treasury as the third biggest expense category year to date.

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pleseus's picture

Sorry folks, America is a socialist country.

Bring the Gold's picture

Uh, once you count black budget stuff its almost completely military/intel/homeland security. Not that we don't waste money elsewhere in SPADES. This graph is like using JP Morgan's publicly available info i.e. worthless as so much is off the books.

Paul Atreides's picture

Relax, everything is okay, there is nothing to see here. Please remain calm, your government has your best interest at heart.

economics9698's picture

Congress ask, Fed prints, peasants get outbid for shit.  Any questions? 

AldousHuxley's picture

Priorities of obama administration:

  1. bail out wall st.
  2. bail out old auto industry
  3. subsidies for healthcare sector
  4. favors to chicago political support
  5. immunity for all rubinite financial terrorists
  6. ensure establishment that nothing changes
  7. re-election campaign


99% are not a priority. CFR doesn't consider anyone with income less than $500,000 a human being.

Lucky Guesst's picture

8.  help friends who claim to be "green" get rich

ultraticum's picture

I thought CONgress was the main determinant of spending.

larz's picture

yea ok btw pro is opposite of con so whats the opposite of progress??????


GeezerGeek's picture

It has long been my position that who controls Congress is at least as important as who controls the White House. The Rs controlled Congress budgets from 1996-2001 under Clinton and from 2002-2007 under Bush II. They also controlled the Senate during the first six years under Reagan, but the Ds controlled the House then, as they did for fiscal years 2008-2010. FY 2008 saw the huge leap in expenditures, due in no small part to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

One must also consider the carry-over effect from prior presidencies. Reagan and Tip O'Neill spent large sums to offset the Defense downsizing that happened under Carter. Clinton benefitted from the so-called 'peace dividend' that accompanied the end of the Cold War. Obama was handed a horrific deficit thanks to Bush II, Paulson, Pelosi and Reid. Having not passed a true budget in several years, it would have been hard to see spending levels increase very much under him.

Readers should be careful in assigning spending levels solely to presidents. None if this happens in a vacuum.

Harbanger's picture

Congress controls the purse, at least in theory.  That's why some of the big spenders were booted out in 2010.  It's not going to happen in 1 election cycle, but one by one they'll all be shown the door.

TWSceptic's picture

That's graph is completely fabricated. Obama is one of the biggest spenders in history.


Read this http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/a-bogus-chart-on-o...

SilverRhino's picture

The sad part .... all those fucks getting HHS and SSA dollars believe that.

Harbanger's picture

Robert Heinlein said, "Once the monkeys learn they can vote themselves bananas, they'll never climb another tree."

AnAnonymous's picture

Voting is a US citizen middle class thing...

AldousHuxley's picture

voting is a US citizen lower class thing...


poor blacks vote for democrats, poor white vote for republicans.


running in politicla office is a US citizen upper class thing as you need millions to run these days...


middle class works and pays taxes to support all


Harbanger's picture

The middle class is awake like never before and voting like never before. Informed citizens means the big state leftists are losing their decades long grip on the msm and it's disinformation.  You can spend millions trying to get elected but without grassroots middle class support you're not going to win.

AnAnonymous's picture

voting is a US citizen lower class thing...

poor blacks vote for democrats, poor white vote for republicans.

No. Voting is a US citizen middle class thing. The US citizen middle class has been from the start the backbone of a US citizen society.

Disenfranchisement go hand in hand with poverty, the poorer, the less likely to vote.

Poors are also targeted by US citizen police, meaning felony and loss of civil rights.

The upper class has a high turnout rate but is less numerous and has to buy what they can not thanks to the voting box.

US citizen middle class forms the bulk of the voters and decide who is elected.

That is the way it is. Even though US citizen middle class that is slipping out of the state provided cocoon would like to invent that the middle class is not in control.

Nope, the middle class is in control and the resources to sustain it in its US citizen way of life are lacking.

Something that the upper class, no matter how dedicated to the middle class they are, can not make for.

MillionDollarBoner_'s picture

Can you smell something?

Someone just stank the place up!

(Two down arrows? Methinks someone has more than one alias :O)

GCT's picture

Sorry anon but voting is an elderly thing.  Voting is a lower class thing.  The middle class will now be out to vote though.

Even though we vote and it ies a joke, hows the voting going in China these days.  Gotta love Anon talking about voting. 

This is one of those threads I almost spit my coffee on my monitor moment! Your remarks are killing me with humor.

AnAnonymous's picture

Voting is an elderly thing: ummm maybe, never check those data because well, elders can be middle class so what?

Voting is not a lower class thing. Data show that disenfranchisement goes up as poverty goes.

Best thing is that on this site, an article detailling who votes actually in the US was posted here:


In the middle of the info, there is that box ticking and showing the information.

You know, right now, in China, they do not have that a solid middle class, they have many people waiting for turning into middle class but resources are lacking to push up since the US citizen middle class is eating all the resources.

It may be wiser to wait for a middle class to be solidly established before implementing something that is middle class thing, you know, to introduce the required inertia with enough middle class going to the voting booth to further their own interests.

What is voting good without a middle class? Can you name one country without a middle class in which voting is any good?

LawsofPhysics's picture

Great post.  Take comfort in knowing that which cannot be sustained, won't.  Know the real value of your labor and assets?  You fucking better.

rosiescenario's picture

" Know the real value of your labor and assets?"


...since I am paid in U.S. dollars I really have no idea what I am being paid, but it is probably more than I am worth....

Patriot Eke's picture

Without getting into the argument of what money is, shouldn't it instead be "future labor?"  It's all debt after all.

centerline's picture

Fear that the sorting process is inevitable and may be unsafe to our health despite our productive capabilites and best intentions.

withnmeans's picture

Just a question, will the new Bank Transaction Fee be put in place on Jan 1st 2013. "HR4646"  If this is put into action, will this just make people "CASH" their paycheck and start paying for everything in cash, and then there will be a larger black market action?

Wake up America, call your Congressman "woman", and Senator.... Stop this....


JUST ANOTHER TAX, like paying to put your luggage on the plane after you already paid for your ticket. One more way to SCREW YA.

CommunityStandard's picture

HR4646 was supposed to introduce a transaction tax to replace income tax, but the bill died in 2010.


withnmeans's picture

Thank you for bringing this to my attention "as may office people laugh for handing me this". I should of did my research homework on this "MYSELF". 

Wait a second "as I turn around and chew ass".

Wow, those bastards got me in the rumor mill now...


Carry on People, to the other more pressing issues at hand!

CalDre's picture

Yeah, paying to put your luggage on the plane is like charging extra for fries!  F** you, McDonals, Burger King et al., fries are part of a burger!

Let's be honest:  the problem with baggage fees is that most (no?) air fare search engines allow you to specify the number of bags you will have and use that information when displaying the price.  But that is the fault of the search engines, not of the airlines.  Paying for what you consume is actually efficient.  I am currently in Europe and they actually charge you for each plastic bag you use at the grocery store.  OMG!  The horror!!  And this AFTER you already paid for your groceries!

Bring the Gold's picture

Exactly my point above and even those figures do not take into account the VAST black budgets for all manner of black ops and secret projects. Remember that 2 Trillion that Rumsfeld couldn't account for on 9/10/01...yeah...stuff like that. Nobody knows how big the budget is its all comparmentalized and in many cases uses its own funding sources. Drug money fuels much of it. The deeper you dig the darker it gets.

GeezerGeek's picture

Was all of that $2 trillion due to the Bush administration? They were just getting into Fiscal Year 2002, and FY 2001 was the last budget under Clinton. Or am I mistaken? Regardless, a pox on all their houses: Bush I, II, Clinton and Obama. And all the other Ds, Rs, and occassional Socialists.

I still like the explanation for black budgets put forth in the movie "Independence Day". It went something like this: "You don't think they really spend hundreds of dollars on individual hammers and toilet seats, do you?"

MillionDollarBoner_'s picture

Rummy did account for it.

It was one of the "known unknowns" ;o)

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

I'm quite confident that there is a huge black budget for the CIA and the military that is not reflected here. But note that said black budget would have to be 6x larger than the above-board Defense budget for it to be "almost completely military/intel/homeland security." I'd be surprised if it is as much as 1x.

It is funny, but people in this country just can't seem to grasp how much transfer payments have taken over the government's budget (I include interest payments as transfer payments, because that's what they are, they just go to rich people not poor people). THIS IS A GIGANTIC WELFARE STATE that happens to have a pretty big defense budget. NOT the other way around.

Bring the Gold's picture

Except we pay into Social Security for example to, you know, get a service when we are older. I get jack squat from the military except enraging people around the world which then causes blow back that kills Americans, which in turn costs us even more in military and intel etc. etc.

I also am not sure but just a cursory glance at that graph gives me about 1.2 trillion in the first two items and 500 million in the defense item. So unless you are including all the items to the right of the defense bill (btw the treasury thing is straight up theft so, I'm not really counting that) and even then your math seems off. As someone posted above the true defense budget WITHOUT hidden expenses is 1 Trillion which again is above board and very close to the first two items. You add in black budget stuff and I could easily see it being twice or three times that.

I grasp perfectly well the flaws of the welfare state and what an extraordinary amount of money we spend on it. Its hugely flawed, but its probably the only thing keep the country from descending into anarachy overnight.

The military and intel apparatus on the other hand pretty much just fucks everyone over all the time, INCLUDING ITS VETERANS (sans perhaps WWII vets those still alive). It also wastes our youth abroad, and brings home wrecked men in many cases. It also experiments on soldiers (I know guys who took experimental vaccines without any choice just for example). So even the supposed HEROS of our system are treated like garbage instead of being treated with honor and respect. I know soldiers respect and care for one another with honor, I'm talking about how the goverment treats THEM.

I'd rather some welfare mom can feed her kids (btw welfare is SUPER limited now post-Clinton reforms) than we blow up a wedding in Afghanistan to MAYBE kill one SUPSECTED terrorist who might just be a regular joe fighting against what he sees as foreign invaders occupying his homeland and killing his relatives. But I know ZH'ers please tell me how welfare is the evil and millitary/intel complex is just grand.

The difference between you and I is that I see a flawed welfare state that is at least helping some people on the margins and I see a military/intel complex that is causing suffering on a GRAND SCALE worldwide.

The truth is we will never know how much money goes into military/intel etc. Who knows what funding mechanisms they have that we don't know about. The little we learned from things like the Church hearings almost 40 years ago shows us that things are far, far darker than most can possibly imagine.

blunderdog's picture

Social Security is just a tax paid predominantly by the lower-earners to pay welfare to old folks.  Don't make it sound like a savings plan--it's not, and it never was.

NidStyles's picture

You're on the wrong site. Anarchy is a preferrable situation, and it is because you are miscontruing what Anarchy actually means.

GeorgeHayduke's picture

Excellent point. Plus, expenses for all of the nukes are in the Energy Dept.'s budget.

This "capitalist" society has been subsidized for decades and it's finally catching up to us. For all the bitching and moaning about socialism it's a pretty good bet that standards of living and a culture based on consumption would have fared much worse without the government inputs.

This whole system has been built upon so many myths and unsustainable inputs that it has no option but to collapse. What we learn and then create in its aftermath is where the challenge lies in ADD, depressed, instant gratification society. I'm not holding out a lot of hope for it to be better, but it might.

cossack55's picture

Using your take, Plesus should have said "sorry folks, we are a National-Socialist country.

Disenchanted's picture

Yeah what about those black budgets/projects?


This is an old Wired article on that subject:

Exposing the Black Budget


Anyone think the situation has improved since? To me "Black Budget" = Taxpayer funds disappearing into undeserving pockets...aka bribes, kickbacks, etc., etc..

TWSceptic's picture

What are you talking about, defense is at 15% of total budget, the lowest in the entire history of the country. It's still too high, but that's only because other spending is so high. In relative terms, it's lower than ever.

pragmatic hobo's picture

yup, socialism for the rich.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Take a look at the charts again. There is PLENTY of socialism for the poor as well.

AnAnonymous's picture


US citizens run a business of extorting the weak, farming the poor.

The help provided to the poor is part of the scheme: it provides middle class jobs,and helps the middle class first.

Poors are just forcefed in consumption acts in order to increase the prosperity of the middle class.

This is how US citizenism works.

akak's picture


Poors are just forcefed in consumption acts in order to increase the prosperity of the middle class.

Maybe no yes, much many poors are do take the forcefeeding with having smiles on his faces such as millions of Chinese slave laborers after making the shitting on China roadsides, consumption acts notwithstanding all of it, even the crustiest bit.

The very mettle of Chinese Citizenism is the consumption acts, offuscation, obscurationalizings and blobbing-up. 

The throating of ideas of you are weak, much weak as Chinese commie troll-bots on Long March of insanitation and time-traveling Easter Island revisionism.  Stop now with you monolizing of the speeching means.  Make me laugh!

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


You speeched a mouthingsful of wordings heartily.