Posts Tagged ‘government spending’

Analyzing Taxes and Transfers Together

Government redistributes income through tax and spending programs. Nearly everyone pays some tax – be it federal or state income taxes, payroll taxes, or sales taxes. The tax system also affects people by delivering a host of benefits through tax expenditures (subsidies like the mortgage interest deduction or the child tax credit).   And broad spending […]

Smart Tax Reform Could Shrink the Government

Max Baucus and Dave Camp, leaders of the Senate and House tax-writing committees, are on the road promoting tax simplification. One goal: cleaning out the mess of deductions, exclusions, credits, and other tax breaks that complicate the code. Done well, such house cleaning could make for a simpler, fairer, more pro-growth tax code. It could […]

The Sequester is Not Too Big, It is Too Stupid

The latest chapter in Washington’s never-ending fiscal drama is about to play out in tomorrow’s sequester–a word most Americans should never have had to learn. For all the partisan noise about these automatic spending cuts, it is important to keep in mind that they are both relatively small and very stupid. First, the size. As the […]

What the Fiscal Cliff Deal Really Means for Taxes and Spending

Everyone trying to sort out the fiscal cliff deal is getting hopelessly tangled in budget baselines.  Are taxes going up? Or are they going down?  There is an easier way: Forget the multiple baselines. Just look at what is happening to total spending and total revenues. My Tax Policy Center colleagues ran the numbers and they tell […]

Has the Government Been Growing or Shrinking? Employment Edition

My recent post on government size prompted several readers to ask a natural follow-up question: how has the government’s role as employer changed over time? To answer, the following chart shows federal, state, and local employment as a share of overall U.S. payrolls: In July, governments accounted for 16.5 percent of U.S. employment. That’s down […]

Has Government Gotten Bigger or Smaller? Yes.

Politicians and pundits constantly debate the size of government. Is it big or small? Growing or shrinking? You might hope these simple questions have simple answers. But they don’t. Measuring government size is not as easy as it sounds. For example, official statistics track two different measures of government spending. And those measures tell different […]

The Federal Government Spends Lots More than You Think

When we talk about the federal budget, we usually rely on the government’s official definition of “spending” which is to say the amount of money that’s run through federal agencies. But, in reality, the federal government spends a lot more than that. Using a broader definition of spending, which includes hundreds of billions in dollars […]