Federal Spending for Dummies

By Tom Quiner

I have a simple and effective way to assess federal spending.  I call it Federal Spending for Dummies.

Use it as a handy voting guide tomorrow when you head out to vote.

Here’s how it works. I take the total amount of money the federal government spends each year, including off-budget items like social security. I adjust it for inflation, putting everything in 1980 dollars. Then I divide by the U.S. population for that year.

We end up with the average amount of money spent per citizen.

“Federal Spending for Dummies” levels the playing field by creating a simple way to accurately compare spending from year-to-year, from decade-to-decade.

Let me put this in perspective for you. In 1980, the year Ronald Reagan was elected President, our country spent an average of $2601 per citizen.

By 2009 the number had increased to $5002 per citizen. We’ve witnessed a stunning increase since Democrats regained congress in 2006. The Nancy Pelosi Congress has increased that number From $3642 in 2006 to $5002 in 2009.

Presidents get too much credit and too much blame when it comes to budgets and deficits. After all, it’s Congress that actually has the power to spend the money.

If you’re comfortable with the direction of the country and with this level of spending, your choice is clear. Vote Democrat.

If you’re concerned that this level of spending is unsustainable, you’ve got to consider Republican candidates. If you’re hesitant about Republicans, I understand. The Gingrich Congress of the 90’s did an admirable job restraining spending. They helped to get our budget back into a surplus. But the spending really ratcheted up in the Dennis Hastert years. Republicans paid a huge price in the 2006 elections for this level of profligacy.

But now Republican spending looks like chump change compared to the Pelosi years.

It’s time for a course-correction. Look at my Federal Spending for Dummies chart above. It’s clear we’ve got to do something fast. Republicans, can we trust you?

I believe the answer is yes. Why? Because the Tea Party Movement will keep them honest … or throw them out.