Sunday, December 21, 2008

Government Spending

Part 2: Government Spending

The U.S. government expenditures in fiscal year 2002 were $2.011 trillion. This compares to U.S. GDP in 2002 of $10.4 trillion and World GDP in 2002 of $49 trillion.

Since the primary function of taxation is to provide revenue for the government, many people argue one way to reduce the tax burden in the United States is to reduce government spending. Even if most people agree to decrease government spending, it is difficult to reach a consensus on which spending to cut. Most people favor the reduction of government spending that reduces the benefits to other people. For example, wealthy people may support reductions in welfare payments to poor people. Poor people, by contrast, would be more likely to support the reduction of government spending that primarily benefits the rich.

For many years, World News Tonight with Peter Jennings did a weekly feature entitled “Your Money” which showcased wasteful government spending. For example, the federal government spent $1 million to build a single bathroom building at a national park. If the government eliminated all the potentially wasteful spending highlighted by ABC News, however, it would hardly make a dent in the federal budget. If one is serious about reducing expenditures, one must consider the larger categories of federal government spending.

“There's only one kind of tax that would please everybody – one that nobody but the other guy has to pay.”

– Earl Wilson

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