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Federal Spending per Household is How Much?

In 2016, the federal government spent $3.854 trillion, according to Patrick Tyrrell, research coordinator in The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis, writing yesterday in the Daily Signal. A lot of money, indeed, but how do visualize such a large number?

According to Tyrrell, "It may be easier to picture if we knew how much spending each household would be responsible for if households all put aside an equal amount each year to cover the government’s spendthrift ways." He then writes, "This can also tell us what the average household should be receiving back in goods and services from the government for their tax dollars."

Tyrrell provides some  numbers that are much more understandable (emphasis added):

"The years 2017-2027 are based on the Congressional Budget Office’s January 2017 baseline projections of federal outlays, and estimates from a Harvard study of the number of households likely to be in the U.S. each year.

"If every household in the U.S. paid an equal amount to cover the federal government’s spending in 2016, each household would have paid $30,631 that year alone.

"In the same 2016 inflation-adjusted dollars, each household is now paying 15 percent more than 10 years ago, when the household share of federal spending was $26,622.

"This per household figure will only grow larger, according to official government projections. In 2027, each household’s share of annual spending will have jumped by another 23 percent to $37,715.

"Right now is a good time to ask whether the federal government is a good steward of our tax dollars. Do taxpayers get enough bang for their buck when they pay federal taxes?

"If households are not receiving $30,631 on average in the form of goods and services from their government, they are being shortchanged.

"Yet the federal government borrows more money each year to fly out its oversized doors.

"Federal government deficit spending—the money it spends beyond what it collects in revenues—amounted to $587 billion in 2016, or $4,665 per household."

The following chart is from Tyrrell's Daily Signal article, and "shows the estimated federal spending per household in the U.S. from 2006 to 2027:

Growls readers concerned about America's out-of-control federal budget are urged to make their views about out-of-concern federal spending known to their members of Congress. Contact information is available at the Library of Congress' Congress.gov. Taxpayers living in Virginia's Arlington County can contact:

  • Senator Mark Warner (D) -- write to him or call (202) 224-2023
  • Senator Tim Kaine (D) -- write to him or call (202) 224-4024
  • Representative Don Beyer (D) -- write to him or call (202) 225-4376

Ask for a written response. And tell them ACTA sent you.


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