Where Does The Money Go?

The 2012 US Federal Budget is $3,729,000,000,000.00.  The total projected receipts for the year are $2,627,000,000,000.00.  Thus, this year, we are spending $1,101,000,000.00 more than we are taking in.  In the last 12 years, our national debt has grown from roughly 6 trillion dollars to 15 trillion dollars.    To say this is an alarming trend is, well, an insane understatement.  Unfortunately for all of us, recognizing the problem is much easier than fixing the problem.  Over the next few weeks, we will look at the component parts of the budget and explore the function of the departments that receive the lion’s share of the appropriations.  The goal will be to understand what is necessary, what is useful, and what is wasteful in government spending.  Here is how the 2012 budget breaks down:

Discretionary or Appropriated Spending accounts for 30% of the US Federal Budget.  In 2012, the total amount of “Appropriated Spending” is $1,344,000,000,000.00.  This breaks down as follows:

Security Spending:                                                                              $719,400,000,000.00

Overseas Contingency Operations (Military Expenditures)      $126,500,000,000.00

Total Non Security Discretionary Spending:                                 $396,800,000,000.00

  1. Agriculture                                                                             $22,000,000,000.00
  2. Commerce                                                                              $8,800,000,000.00
  3. Education                                                                               $77,000,000,000.00
  4. Energy                                                                                     $17,000,000,000.00
  5. Health And Human Services                                              $82,000,000,000.00
  6. Housing and Urban Development                                    $41,700,000,000.00
  7. Interior                                                                                   $12,100,000,000.00
  8. Justice                                                                                     $20,900,000,000.00
  9. Labor                                                                                       $12,800,000,000.00
  10. Transportation                                                                     $13,400,000,000.00
  11. Treasury                                                                                 $14,000,000,000.00
  12. Corps of Engineers                                                              $4,600,000,000.00
  13. Environmental Protection Agency                                   $9,000,000,000.00
  14. NASA                                                                                      $18,700,000,000.00
  15. National Science Foundation                                            $7,800,000,000.00
  16. Social Security Administration (Discretionary)            $10,200,000,000.00
  17. Other Agencies                                                                     $22,000,000,000.00

Mandatory Spending, or Spending tied to Statutory Mandates, accounts for 70% of US Federal Budget, or $2,349,000,000,000.00.  This includes spending on Medicare, Medicaid, Veteran’s Benefits and Health, Social Security and Debt Interest Payments.  The Major Expenditures in this category break down as follows:

  1. Social Security Administration                                                                $816,000,000,000.00
  2. Medicare (Retired Americans)                                                                $479,553,000,000.00
  3. Medicaid (Children, Disabled, and Nursing Care for  Elderly)        $265,011,000,000.00
  4. Veteran’s Benefits                                                                                      $129,605,000,000.00
  5. Interest on the Debt                                                                                  $474,150,000,000.00
  6. All other programs combined                                                                  $184,681,000,000.00

In the days to come, we will unpack each major category in hopes of better understanding what we are receiving for our money.

About David Davies, Editor-in-Chief

David Davies is the Editor-in-Chief of Media Rostra. He is also a lawyer and a licensed minister, so he is basically distrusted by everyone on some level. He received his Political Science degree from the University of Tulsa and his Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas. He is a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Arkansas, a former "good athlete for his size," and current owner of The Law Offices of David Davies, PLLC -- an Estate Planning and Elder Law firm that has offices in Arkansas and Tennessee. He co-authored, with fellow editor, Aaron Brooks, the article entitled: “Exploring Student-Athlete Compensation: Why the NCAA Cannot Afford to Leave Athletes Uncompensated," in the University of Notre Dame’s Journal of College and University Law.