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Looking at the 2008 and 2009 Budget for the U.S.

By JLP | August 29, 2011

I have been spending some time lately analyzing the budget for the United States. The Budget for Fiscal year 2011, Historical Tables (PDF) publishes some pretty interesting information. One of those tables is Table 4.1—Outlays by Agency: 1962-2015. I spent a good part of the weekend entering the information for 1970 – 2011 so that I could see where the increased spending was coming from (NOTE: I just now figured out that I was missing the page that contained the numbers for 1962-1969. I’ll go back and add them later.)

I want to show you the budget for 2008 and 2009. The increase is pretty drastic (and NOT all Obama’s fault):

Like I said above, it’s not fair to pin all of the increases from 2008 to 2009 on Obama. But, the increase overall is pretty amazing to think about. Eighteen of the 31 Agencies increased by more than 10%.

I’m working on a larger analysis that includes 1962-2011.

Topics: Economics, Politics | 40 Comments »


40 Responses to “Looking at the 2008 and 2009 Budget for the U.S.”

  1. Jack Says:
    August 29th, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    What I’d like to see is a comparison between FY07 (the last Republican budget) and FY08 and FY09, when the Democrats took over.

    As your previous article points out, it is the deficit-to-GDP ratio that really matters. In FY07, the deficit was 1.4% of GDP. In FY08, the Democrats nearly tripled that, and in FY09 they did triple it, for an eight-fold increase in two years.

    I’d love to see what they spent it on.

    I’d also love to see what you were trying to link to, we got “Tab on ramp for SF supervisors’ chamber adding up”. Que?

  2. Karl Says:
    August 29th, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    It’s not fair to pin any of the increases on Obama. The FY 2009 budget was submitted to Congress by the Bush Administration (Here or here) in Feb 2008, almost a full year before Obama was inaugurated.

  3. JLP Says:
    August 29th, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Karl,

    But what about the stimulus that Obama passed after he became president? Isn’t that included in 2009’s budget? If so, then Obama did have something to do with these numbers.

  4. Karl Says:
    August 29th, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    JLP,

    The stimulus that was passed by congress in feb 2009 allocated money to three FYs: 2009, 2010, 2011. $242 billion had been spent by Oct 20 2009.

    So, if you want to count the stimulus as Obama’s, you could pin 7% of the 2009 increase on Obama. But “not fair to pin all the increase” sounds like you’re saying a good percentage was Obama’s fault. I would call 7% to be barely any of the increase.

  5. JLP Says:
    August 29th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Not sure I’m understanding you, Karl. Wasn’t Obama President in 2009, 2010, and 2011?

    It’s funny. Whenever I try not to make something “political,” a reader will ALWAYS try to make it that way.

  6. Jack Says:
    August 29th, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Didn’t the original post say: “The increase is pretty drastic (and NOT all Obama’s fault)”

    So stop trying to make it about 0bama. It was the democrat-run Congress that passed these bills. All the president can do is veto.

  7. BG Says:
    August 30th, 2011 at 7:03 am

    Good grief Jack. Why not do the comparison to when Clinton was president and the federal government was running surpluses. Easy to see the differences: unfunded wars, and unfunded tax breaks.

    And again, I disagree with your premise that the only thing that matters is “debt to GDP”. You love to pick metrics that attempt to put democrats and/or Obama in the worst possible light. Even if spending and taxes were CONSTANT, the fact that there was a recession is going to make your “debt to GDP” ratio look worse.

  8. JLP Says:
    August 30th, 2011 at 7:39 am

    BG,

    It’s not that cut and dry. Clinton had a Republican house and senate during a 3/4ths of his presidency. I think we have to look at the entire composition of the government before we do comparisons.

    Clinton also just happened to be president as the nation was preparing for Y2K and the internet took off. Any president would have looked good during those years.

  9. Jack Says:
    August 30th, 2011 at 9:09 am

    > Why not do the comparison to when Clinton was
    > president and the federal government was running
    > surpluses.

    I’d be happy to, BG. Who was running Congress when those surpluses occurred?

  10. Jack Says:
    August 30th, 2011 at 9:12 am

    The only reason I lay blame at 0bama’s feet at all is that he was also part of the Democrat-run Congress when the FY08 and FY09 budgets were passed.

  11. Jack Says:
    August 30th, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Regarding your problem with the debt-to-GDP metric, I submit that the Democrat policies caused the crash, too. It was Democrats who pushed banks to lend to unqualified borrowers and refused to give Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac more oversight. And it was the Democrats raising the minimum wage that made so many people unemployable, triggering the recession.

  12. JLP Says:
    August 30th, 2011 at 9:21 am

    The problem is the disconnect between what politicians want and what actually happens after the fact. Politicians can’t think past the next election.

  13. Karl Says:
    August 30th, 2011 at 10:25 am

    JLP,

    “Not sure I’m understanding you, Karl. Wasn’t Obama President in 2009, 2010, and 2011?”

    Yes, but we’re not talking about 2010 and 2011. Your original post was about the increase from 2008 to 2009, and you wrote “The increase is pretty drastic (and NOT all Obama’s fault)”. Which I interpreted as meaning you wanted to blame a lot of it (but not all of it) on Obama.

    If I misinterpreted you, I’m sorry. If you’re trying to make it not political, why mention Obama twice?

    Looking back, I realize my calculation was incorrect, here are the correct numbers:

    The stimulus that was expended in 2009 was $242 billion. The increase from 2008 to 2009 was $535 billion. So 45% of the 2008 to 2009 increase was due to the stimulus.

    You said, “But what about the stimulus that Obama passed after he became president? Isn’t that included in 2009′s budget? If so, then Obama did have something to do with these numbers.”

    So sure, yeah, if you want to pin the stimulus on Obama (or the democrats), then 45% of the increase is due to that. But the majority of the increase (55%) was due to the Bush administration. Except for the stimulus, the money expended in Fiscal Year 2009 (Oct 1 2008 to Sep 30 2009), was budgeted for by the Bush Administration.

  14. BG Says:
    August 30th, 2011 at 10:37 am

    I don’t care who was president and who controlled congress. The fact of the matter is that the massive budget deficits are attributed to unfunded wars, unfunded tax breaks, and a massive recession.

    In my view, there is no difference between democrats and republicans when it comes to SPENDING. The difference is that democrats want to raise taxes to cover the spending (tax and spend). Republicans think a rising GDP covers their spending (spend and pretend)

  15. JLP Says:
    August 30th, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Karl wrote:

    “If you’re trying to make it not political, why mention Obama twice?”

    Because I didn’t want people to think I was pinning the all the blame on Obama. Obviously, that did not work with you…lol.

    Oh well, I didn’t mean any ill will by my statements.

    I’ll be the first to tell you that Bush (and congress) did not hold the line on spending during his presidency and I’m not going to defend them.

  16. Jack Says:
    August 30th, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    BG, we had the tax breaks and the wars BEFORE 2007. Since 2001, the TOTAL spending in Iraq and Afghanistan is less than ONE YEAR’S deficit. Our total defense spending has gone from 50% of federal spending in 1960 to less than 20% in 2010. Meanwhile, social programs have gone from less than 20% to over 50%.

    Since it was liberal policies that set the fuel for the subprime mortgage crisis, and liberal policies that triggered the recession, I blame liberal policies for the deficit. Between FY03 and FY07, the deficit was going DOWN. After Bush cut the capital gains and dividend tax rates in 2003, revenue from those taxes INCREASED.

    That said, I blame Bush whole heartedly for Medicare Part D, No Child Gets Ahead, and a number of other policies. Those are NOT conservative programs, and I have no use for “spend and pretend” Republicans. That’s why we call them RINOs.

  17. BG Says:
    August 30th, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Jack) It costs more to air-condition our troops tents in Afghanistan than the entire budget for NASA.

  18. BG Says:
    August 30th, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Oh, and for your stab at “social programs”. You fail to mention that payroll taxes have gone from 12% of federal tax receipts in 1960 to 40% in 2010. And you also failed to mention that Social Security isn’t responsible for a single penny of the federal debt, and in fact has generated a $2.6 trillion surplus. Oh and this particular part of the tax code is _primarily_ paid by the poor and lower/middle classes.

    Now, lets look at Corporate Income Taxes in 1960, and compare them to today.

    In 1960, Corporations paid 21% of all federal taxes.
    In 2010, Corporations paid 9% of all federal taxes.

    Oh, by the way, I love this discrepancy:

    “…Since it was liberal policies that set the fuel for the subprime mortgage crisis, and liberal policies that triggered the recession, I blame liberal policies for the deficit. Between FY03 and FY07, the deficit was going DOWN….”

    So which is it Jack? You want to blame ‘liberal policies’ for putting us into a recession, but at the same time praise those ‘liberal policies’ that was reducing the yearly deficits.

  19. Jack Says:
    August 30th, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    We have already gone over the Social Security issue, and I have agreed that it is not YET a major contributor to the deficit. Let’s move on from the point of agreement, shall we?

    Corporate Income Taxes should be completely abolished. The computation of them is a waste of valuable brainpower, and the result is higher prices, lower pay, lower profits, and stunted corporate growth. Just tax the individuals when it gets to them through their pay, their capital gains, and their dividends.

    It was not liberal policies that were reducing the deficit, but pro-business policies and reductions in the capital gains and dividend tax rates. The liberal policies that set up the subprime mortgage mess were established well before Bush came into office — indeed, they were started back in Carter’s time, and Clinton expanded them.

  20. Jack Says:
    August 30th, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    And, BG, I would love for the US to spend more money on NASA.

  21. BG Says:
    August 30th, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    “Just tax the individuals when it gets to them through their pay, their capital gains, and their dividends…”

    and their corporate paid private jets, golden healthcare plans, corporate paid housing, meals, corporate paid private cars (with drivers), corporate paid golf trips, etc, etc.

    OR, we can tax corporations.

    “The liberal policies that set up the subprime mortgage mess were established well before Bush came into office…”

    Wait, what? Republicans held the majority in BOTH houses of congress from 1995 through 2007. So answer me this: why didn’t Bush (in his 8 years) and/or his Republican congress (in their 12 years) not undo these ‘liberal policies’?

  22. Jack Says:
    August 31st, 2011 at 7:36 am

    “[Why] didn’t Bush (in his 8 years) and/or his Republican congress (in their 12 years) not undo these ‘liberal policies’?”

    Because the Republicans never had a 60-vote majority in the Senate to override a Democrat filibuster.

  23. Jack Says:
    August 31st, 2011 at 7:44 am

    “[And tax also] their corporate paid private jets, golden healthcare plans, corporate paid housing, meals, corporate paid private cars (with drivers), corporate paid golf trips, etc, etc.”

    Maybe you missed the memo, but it was 0bama’s own “stimulus” program that cut the tax on corporate jets in the first place.

    You want to tax employer-provided health care? Fine, that was McCain’s plan, too, and the liberals roasted him for it.

    For people who travel a lot, and who need to conduct business while traveling, a corporate jet and buying a car and driver can actually cost less flying commercial and renting cars (during which time those people are NOT getting work done, but are still paid). If not for the screwball corporate tax system, those decisions could be made of their own merits, not on the government’s mess up priorities or your petty jealousies.

    What is it to you if a corporate executive has a car, a plane, and a good health care plan? If the company thinks he is worth the cost, then that is none your business. What part of THOU SHALT NOT COVET did you not understand? (BTW, I have worked for companies from 10 people to 50,000, and never has the CEO been on a plan different from everyone else.)

  24. BG Says:
    August 31st, 2011 at 9:55 am

    “What is it to you if a corporate executive has a car, a plane, and a good health care plan?”

    Because those are benefits that should be TAXED, just like a PAYCHECK.

    I don’t care what benefits people / executives get from their jobs, but I care when taxes are avoided. My company gives me a paycheck (which is taxed) which I then go buy a car with. Why should an executive get the same car, and he (and his employer) not pay any taxes on it?

    You seem to be all for welfare, as long as it is of the corporate variety.

  25. Jack Says:
    August 31st, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    > Because those are benefits that should be TAXED,
    > just like a PAYCHECK.

    Why? If they are provided so that he is a more efficient employee, then they should be taxed no more than the company laptops which are on loan to the software engineers.

    > My company gives me a paycheck (which is taxed)
    > which I then go buy a car with. Why should an
    > executive get the same car, and he (and his
    > employer) not pay any taxes on it?

    First of all, he probably gets a better car. :-)

    The reason is that that executive uses that car in the execution of his business. My sister, a lowly employee of the Census Bureau, gets to deduct the use of her car in the performance of her job.

  26. Jack Says:
    August 31st, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    > You seem to be all for welfare, as long as it is
    > of the corporate variety.

    Not at all. I am not proposing that the government give companies anything. I am only saying that it is extremely wasteful to tax corporate income.

  27. Stacey Says:
    August 31st, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    If one is flying for business purposes, what difference does it really make if it’s A) commercial (deduct cost of ticket) or B) on corporate jet (if not owned, the rental pmt; if owned, the depreciation on it. I assume actual fuel expense is also deductible.) My husband and his boss often had to travel to country bumpkin areas that were not serviced in a commerically viable way, so they would take the corporate jet–saving them time to pursue other things that needed to be attended to…without all the TSA BS, etc and with SMILING flight attendants, ready to hand them a bagel and say good morning. Remember when air travel used to have a genteel quality to it?!

    So, I have nothing against corporate jets for business purposes. If the family to going to Vail on it, then I guess that’s a different matter.

  28. BG Says:
    September 1st, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Stacey) Sure, let them take the private jet. However the company should only be able to deduct the value of commercial airfare (which was an option–I don’t care how you want to spin it), and the executive should pay income taxes on the benefit he received: flying in a private jet instead of commercial.

    Why do you think I, as a taxpayer, should cover these expenses (by allowing them to deduct extravagances)?

    Jack) You think the IRS should allow your sister, the census worker, deduct the value of a Ferrari Enzo in the “performance of her job”?

  29. Jack Says:
    September 1st, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    > the executive should pay income taxes on the
    > benefit he received: flying in a private jet
    > instead of commercial.

    If he were flying for personal reasons, I would agree with you. Since he is flying for business purposes, it is up to the business to decide whether he takes commercial transportation or private. Would you also require such executives to be taxed on the difference between flying first class vs. coach?

    BTW, is 0bama taxed on his private use of Air Force One? Are our congresscritters taxed on their use of military transportation?

    > You think the IRS should allow your sister, the
    > census worker, deduct the value of a Ferrari
    > Enzo in the “performance of her job”?

    The deduction is the same, no matter what vehicle she chooses to drive.

    What I think is that there should be no corporate income taxes whatsoever.

  30. BG Says:
    September 1st, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Jack) Remember, this discussion is about “IF corporations didn’t pay taxes”, then this is what I would want to see taxed.

    “Would you also require such executives to be taxed on the difference between flying first class vs. coach?”

    If Corporations were allowed to pay no taxes, then YES — that should be taxed because it is a benefit to the employee.

    Think about it this way, if Oprah Wimphrey gives you a car on her show (she did this once I believe): you would have to pay income taxes on the value.

    But, you think that if a Corporation were to give an employee the same car, neither the corporation, nor the employee should pay ANY taxes? It is ludicrous.

    “BTW, is 0bama taxed on his private use of Air Force One? Are our congresscritters taxed on their use of military transportation?”

    Government taxing itself?!? Now that is something I could go for! :) Anyhow, yes, the extravagances should be taxed. However, it is not realistic to think that the leader of the free-world should fly coach (or even commercial for that matter) — because it would be a massive security risk. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, can even get close to AF-1.

    Congressmen use the military transports to save taxpayers money, and critters that use the military transports over alternatives get my respect. Congress-critters that use some other (more expensive) form of transportation should DO SO ON THEIR OWN (AND TAXED) DIME.

    “The deduction is the same, no matter what vehicle she chooses to drive.”

    Lets say her employer gives her the car as a benefit for the “performance of her job”.

    “What I think is that there should be no corporate income taxes whatsoever.”

    That’s fine, but loopholes would need to be closed first.

    As I see it, any ‘benefits’ you get from your job that isn’t directly in the form of a paycheck should be taxed as if it were — including insurance benefits, cars, housing, meals, every damn thing.

    I thought we were on the same page for having a flat-tax w/ no deductions?

  31. Stacey Says:
    September 1st, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    My husband was taxed when he had a company car. Any mileage that wasn’t business mileage was added to his W-2. I can’t say it’s common practice for a company “giving” an employee a car. They’re leased or, if bought, the title doesn’t pass to the employee. Thus the company owns the car and depreciates it or writes off the lease payment as an expense.

    BG, in my perception of what your perception of the taxation world is, no one would ever want to rise to being a capitalist. We’d all be driving Yugos and standing in bread lines. PS I still respect your opinions, but I can’t swallow this one on taxation of what you perceive as perks that are just run-of-the-mill business expenses that a company has set as part of their budget, with management and/or shareholders’ blessing. If you have ever flown to New Zealand or Australia or Japan or Malaysia (which I had done multiple times in my former life, pre-motherhood) you would kiss the ground that your boss walks on for allowing you to fly business class because it was the company’s policy on flights over 10 hours. On my former $40K or so salary at the time, if I was told the ticket price difference between business and coach would be taxable to me, I would not have remained employed for more than a trip or 2 because I would owe more than I made. Surely you can appreciate the nuance. I sure as hell wasn’t The Donald, flying around in golden luxury! Now if an employee is given the choice to fly business or fly coach and get the business less coach ticket price in their check, then that would be something to tax, because there’s a tangible income/enrichment factor at play.

    Let’s extend this argument to health insurance/benefits. If I’m covered and have a bazillion dollar procedure, this surely is of benefit to me and my family who wants to keep me around for my charming personality and wit…and should be taxed, right? My alternative would be prayer and vitamins and vegetables and maybe a shaman, all of which would not be taxed, as that’s “baseline” care–see how crazy this all could get?

  32. Jack Says:
    September 2nd, 2011 at 8:19 am

    > “What I think is that there should be no
    > corporate income taxes whatsoever.”

    > That’s fine, but loopholes would need to be
    > closed first.

    Well THAT’s easy — just eliminate the income tax altogether, and go to a consumption tax. Then, it would not matter whether the company or the employee purchased the car, because it would be taxed either way!

  33. BG Says:
    September 2nd, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Stacey) To simplify my thoughts, I believe everyone (including corporations, because they are ‘people’ now) should pay a flat tax, with absolutely no deductions.

    I’d even go for a flat-sales tax, in the form of a VAT to replace all taxation.

    Those are my core beliefs.

    ———

    Now to address specifics you pointed out:

    If your company buys a private jet for THEIR CONSUMPTION: then they should bear the full brunt of all taxes (in a VAT system). If they buy the jet as part of a supply chain where they add value to the jet and resell it — then they’d pay NO taxes on it.

    Since your husband (and his company) don’t appear to be in the business of making/upgrading/selling jets: why should they get away with paying no taxes when they buy/use jets?!?

    BTW: I have flown oversees for my job, many times, and I did so in coach.

    In regards to the insurance policy: I’m saying you (the employee) should be taxed on the cost of the insurance policy — which is exactly equal the the value of the premiums that the company is paying for the policy. The company is giving you a benefit (insurance policy) that has a value (the premiums) — so it should be taxed.

    You seem to be in favor with executives getting a (tax-free) insurance policy, while the peons have to purchase their own policies with AFTER-TAX dollars.

    It is funny watching how you (and Jack) are trying to justify why a corporation (and their executives) should pay no taxes — and the peons should be paying all the taxes.

  34. BG Says:
    September 2nd, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Jack said: “Well THAT’s easy — just eliminate the income tax altogether, and go to a consumption tax.”

    Yes, exactly! But the consumption tax should apply to corporations as well (for the items they consume and not resell).

  35. BG Says:
    September 2nd, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Stacey said: “I can’t say it’s common practice for a company “giving” an employee a car.”

    It is not given to them as in “here’s the title.”.

    But it is given to them as in “here’s a car, you go drive it anywhere you please, and you can park it in your driveway because only you will ever drive this car until the wheels fall off. Then once the wheel fall off, we will buy you another one.”

  36. Jack Says:
    September 2nd, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Nonsense, BG, you KNOW they’d buy him another car in a year or two! We can’t have our CEO’s driving old cars! ;-)

  37. Stacey Says:
    September 2nd, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    BG, re: company cars the mileage purpose (biz vs personal vs commuting) is to be tracked with any personal miles being included in their W-2. To not do that would be against the tax code and woe to anyone not keeping good vehicle/mileage log records. Our IRS friends are cracking down on this.

    Where I have a problem with company cars is when lawyers, doctors, etc buy them and try to write 100% off. They are commuting to work like the rest of us and s/b nailed.

  38. Stacey Says:
    September 2nd, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    RE my 37 above, I s/h said any commuting and personal mileage s/b in the W-2. Only the business miles are excluded.

  39. BG Says:
    September 2nd, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    “Our IRS friends are cracking down on this.”

    As long as we fund the IRS’ enough so they can enforce the rules.

    The crux of the matter is that you have companies like GE, making 10s of billions in profit per quarter — yet manage to not pay a dime into the treasury. In fact they got a $3 billion return (welfare check) recently.

    Just take a step back, and look at the big picture. If GE can do that, and it be _legal_ — then it doesn’t take a doctorate in brain surgery to see why the federal budget is as screwed up as it is.

    Sure we have a spending problem, but we have a huge taxing problem too. Unfortunately Dems only want to look at the taxing problems, and Repubs only want to look at the spending problems. We need some moderation in congress that can meet in the middle and actually fix things.

  40. Jack Says:
    September 3rd, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Which is why the debt-ceiling compromise should have required that Democrats appoint REPUBLICANS to the committee, and vice versa.

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