The Big-Spending Presidents

Brief

The Big-Spending Presidents

Abstract

The authors examine domestic spending over the 20th century to examine the factors that fueled it. A table highlights the change in federal domestic spending outlays as a percent of gross domestic product by presidential term. The following questions are discussed: (1) What is the relationship of domestic spending to campaign promises? (2) What is the relationship between political ideology and increases in domestic spending? (3) What role does the expansion and contraction of sources available for government activities play in domestic spending? (4) What impact does the current fiscal straightjacket have on balanced budget proposals?

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