Yes, discretionary spending is a big problem

March 10, 2011

Congress should be looking hard at dramatic discretionary spending cuts.  It’s really gotten out of control (via the Congressional Budget Office):

Such outlays equaled about 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) during much of the 1970s and 1980s, then gradually fell to 6.2 percent of GDP in 1999 . Thereafter, discretionary outlays began increasing relative to GDP— reaching 7.0 percent in 2002 and 7.9 percent by 2008— partly because of actions taken in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011, and subsequent military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the past few years, discretionary spending has been boosted by funding provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and by policy responses to the recent turmoil in financial markets. Discretionary outlays rose to 8.8 percent of GDP in 2009 and to 9.3 percent last year—the highest share of GDP since 1988.

And here is what is in discretionary spending:


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