The U.S. financial situation is at the center of the 2012 elections, specifically the race for the White House between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. One of the key topics the country is facing is the fact that the federal government spends significantly more money than it takes in.
What should Washington do to close the gap, or should it even do anything? We want to give you a chance to weigh in on spending and the U.S. economy. The graphic below lays out federal spending beyond defense, Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. Those three programs, taken together, are projected to account for more than 60% of the federal spending in 2013.
For added perspective, government data show that in 2011, spending totaled $3.6 trillion, while receipts came to $2.3 trillion. Of the amount collected, nearly half -- $1.1 trillion -- came by way of individual income taxes. Social Security-related taxes were the next biggest contributor to the government, followed by corporate income taxes. But it wasn't enough to match the money going out. The federal deficit came to roughly $1.3 trillion.