Spending as a Share of the Budget – Some Correlations

First… this is my first attempt at copying an Excel table into a Jpeg file. I can’t figure out how to crop in Paintbrush and I don’t seem to be able to get the picture where I want it. (I do a fair amount of programming in my life, but I’ve never had to worry about graphics…) The Preview also seems to indicate that somehow my links look screwy. My apologies for the looks of this post

About a month ago, I had a post looking at military spending by each President since 1950. I noted that as a share of the budget, military spending actually decreased under every President except Reagan and GW.

Now, there are only fixed amounts of money in the budget. I decided to see how spending as the share of the federal budget in X correlates with spending as the share of the federal budget in Y for selected X and Y. The data employed came from OMB Table 4.2 and goes back to 1962. I also only used actual figures and ignored projected data after 2005.

So… what do we see?

Defense spending is negatively correlated with education and HHS and positively correlated with veteran’s affairs. All these correlations are very strong. No surprise… that’s in fact somewhat stereotypical. More interestingly, Defense is positively correlated with agriculture (i.e., farm subsidies) and negatively correlated with homeland security spending. The latter may also be almost a stereotype… the NRO types and the rest of the Chairborne Commandoes are all about “fighting them over there so we don’t fight them over here” – those of us who think they’re idiots tend to view terrorism as a police and diplomacy action. (My belief, expanding some things I’ve written before… the way to fight terrorism is to beef up security and to have a chat with our “friends” the Saudis and the Pakistanis explaining that if folks they trained and armed and financed hit us, we will decapitate their regime.)

Education, HHS, and Homeland Security are all positively correlated… another stereotype confirmed. This is also a stereotype confirmed – of the left this time.