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Federal spending

Posted: June 20, 2013 10:01 a.m.
Updated: June 21, 2013 5:00 a.m.

The federal sequester has caused a great deal of controversy this year, with groups of all kinds protesting what they claim are inhumane spending cuts by Uncle Sam. Though the sequester has dictated cutting only a small percentage of total federal funds -- and in some cases, just reducing the rate of increase rather than actually cutting -- some have tried to make it the equivalent of a national disaster.

We happened to come across a piece of information recently that detailed President Lyndon B. Johnson’s budget for 1964. Late the previous year, shortly after taking over the presidency following the tragic assassination of John F. Kennedy, Johnson initiated the first of his Great Society social programs. A key component involved the fact that the total federal budget for that year was $100 billion.

A quick check of an inflation calculator revealed that since then, the inflation rate has increased 6.2 times – that is, the $100 billion would equate to $620 billion for this year. But total spending in Washington this year will be $3.8 trillion. In other words, the federal budget has increased 38 times while inflation has increased 6.2 times. The growth of federal spending has thus increased more than six times faster than inflation.

That’s a depressing statistic for the few people in Washington who still believe in a balanced budget, and it indicates just how reliant we have all become on Uncle Sam. Yet to hear some tell it, we need to continue the increase in spending, with few reins on it. If those people aren’t satisfied with a six-fold increase in spending, they probably won’t be happy with anything.

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