As war drums beat in Washington, DC (and at many US newspapers), it’s useful to understand how the federal government spends our tax dollars and borrowed money.
There’s an image floating around Facebook that compares military, health, housing and education spending. It’s undated, but it’s from 2009. And the numbers in the supporting article are, well, squishy. For example:
The Troubled Assets Relief Program gave an initial $700 billion to the banks, with Congress handing control to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to decide who would receive the vast sums of taxpayer money with no real oversight. Since then, additional sums to the tune of nearly $10 trillion have been either handed over or guaranteed to financial powerhouses and corporate giants, who have since nonchalantly paid out hundreds of millions in bonuses to corporate executives.
Congress authorized $700 billion for TARP. Last fall, the Congressional Budget Office reported disbursements of $431 billion. After loan paybacks, the net cost of the program is estimated at $24 billion.
Here is my chart comparing costs associated with the Great Recession to our military, Medicare and education budgets for fiscal 2012.
- 2012 budget deficit : Congressional Budget Office
- 2012 military, Medicare and education spending : About.com
- Dallas Federal Reserve report (2013)
- Too Big To Jail (2013) : Forbes
- Wall Street Bonuses: 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012
- Tomahawk missile image
Cross-posted at The Moderate Voice