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THE ISSUES


National Spending
2009 Spending: Points of Interest
The Wonk took a closer look at the CBO's reported actual revenues and expenditures for FFY 2009. One of the more interesting aspects of the CBO report is the description of the TARP programs. A comparison of some changes over the past 10 years also provides some fiscal insight.

Bush's Final Budget
President Bush has submitted his final budget. He has vowed to put the nation on target for a balanced budget by 2012. How will he do this? With lower revenues and huge increases for the military there is only one way - cut and eliminate domestic programs.

Growth of Federal Employees - 1981 to 2010
People have been asking me how many federal employees President Barack Obama has added. The answer is - he hasn't added any.

National Debt Limits
The authority to borrow money on the full faith and credit of the United States is vested in Congress by the Constitution. Prior to 1917 Congress approved the interest and term each time debt was issued. In the early 1940s, the form we currently use for approval to enter into debt was set. The record for raising debt limits for each presidential administration from 1940 to the present is set forth.

The Budget Deficit
The budget deficit is the amount that the U.S. government is short every year in paying its bills. The government gets the money to pay the bills by borrowing it. What it borrows is its debt. No economist will say how much of a deficit is too much, but a good rule of thumb is that the annual deficit should not be greater than 3% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In FFY 2016, the deficit was 3.18% of the GDP.

The Cost of the War on Terrorism
A new Congressional Budget Office report shows that, to date, more than $503 billion has been spent on the War on Terrorism, which includes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If the President's recent requests for a 2007 supplemental as well as his request for the 2008 budget are appropriated by Congress, the costs will go to more than $746 billion next year. And, not all of the costs are able to be discerned.

The Debt: How We Got Here
With arguments over how to reduce the U.S. debt beginning, I thought it was time to give everyone a little history lesson on how we got here. From 1981, the start of the Reagan administration, to 2011 of the Obama administration, I've broken down the debt incurred by each president.

The National Debt
Budget deficits are funded with borrowed money, which is the national debt. The U.S. government borrows from 2 sources: itself (Intragovernmental Holdings) and the public (Public Debt). Intragovernmental holdings are securities held by government trust funds, primarily the Social Security Trust Fund and the federal civilian employee and military retirement trust funds. At the end of FFY 2016 Intragovernmental Holdings were $5,396,000,000,000. Public Debt is securities issued by the U.S. Treasury, primarily in the form of bonds and notes. At the end of FFY 2016, public debt was $14,168,000,000,000. Total debt, at the end of FFY 2016, was 106% of the GDP, climbing steadily from 58.50% in FFY 2000. Inflation, rather than insolvency, is the greatest risk posed by excessive debt.

Who Do We Owe? 2001-2004
The United States government borrows money from the public, referred to as the public debt. This is a table of the public debt from FFY 2001 through FFY 2004. It lists the major holders of United States Debt.

Who Do We Owe? 2005-2008
The United States government borrows money from the public, referred to as the public debt. This is a table of the public debt from FFY 2005 through FFY 2008. It lists the major holders of United States Debt.

Who Do We Owe? 2008-2012
The United States government borrows money from the public, referred to as the public debt. This is a table of the public debt from FFY 2008 through FFY 2012. It lists the major holders of United States Debt.

Who Do We Owe? 2012-2016
The United States government borrows money from the public, referred to as the public debt. This is a table of the public debt from FFY 2012 through FFY 2016. It lists the major holders of United States Debt.

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