AB reader K Harris asked a question in a comment under this post, which got my AB colleague Cactus looking at some OMB data – specifically table 4.1’s outlays by agency and what has been recorded as spending by the Executive Office of the President. I have provided this data from 1962 to 2006 in inflation adjusted terms (all figures in millions of 2000$).– with the projections through 2012 (I’ve assumed an inflation rate of 2%). Cactus suggested this spending rose significantly. Well YEA! Of course, in true Bushian fashion – the forecast is for it to decline rapidly (ha ha ha).
Speculation among AB readers has followed and Cactus promises a post on this later. I have no clue what this really means, but let me observe (if your eyes can follow the relatively small movements back then that real spending rose under Nixon (Watergate?). But if you are thinking it would revert back to the 1960’s levels when clean cut Gerald Ford became President, you’d be wrong. Of course, his chief of staff was named Dick Cheney.
For comparison sake, I have another graph that also includes spending by the legislative branch and the judiciary. What does this all mean? I’m leaving the hard part to Cactus.