Government Spending Per Household Exceeds Median Household Income
By Terence Jeffrey
As reported in my new book, “Completely Predictable,” the combined spending of federal, state and local governments per American household actually exceeded the median household income for 2010, which is the latest year for which all relevant government data are available.
In fiscal 2010, according to numbers published by the Census Bureau and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), net spending by all levels of government in the United States was $5,942,988,401,000. That equaled $50,074 for each one of the 118,682,000 households in the country.
In that same year, according to the Census Bureau, the median household income was $49,445.
That means total net government spending per household ($50,074) exceeded median household income (49,445) by $629.
Government in the United States, of course, has not always spent more per year than the median household earns. As recently as 2000, the relationship between government spending and household income was dramatically different.
Data from the Census Bureau and the OMB show that in that year net spending by all levels of government was $3,239,913,876,000. That equaled $29,941 for each of the nation’s then 108,209,000 households. In 2000, the median household income was $41,990.
Thus, between 2000 and 2010, government in this country went from spending $12,049 less than the median household income to spending $629 more.
This is how I derived these startling numbers:
First, I took the figure for each year’s total state and local government spending (published by the Census Bureau) and subtracted from it the money that state and local governments had received from the federal government. That left the net total of state and local spending for the year.
Then I took the total federal government spending for the year (published by OMB) and subtracted from it the money the Census Bureau said state and local governments had sent to the fed
Only an itiot would by a book written by a guy who measures government spending against median household income.
Government spending is objectively measured as a percentage of GDP. It averaged 20.3% throughout most of the 20th century. It hit a low under Clinton, increased under Bush II and has returned to back to historical norms under Obama.
Median family income has declined relative to GDP as more and more wealth is being concentrated into fewer and fewer hands. Now that's a trend that needs to be reversed.