Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

Looking back at 52 years of government spending

1/
Drew Angerer // Getty Images

Looking back at 52 years of government spending

For Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, the way the government spends taxpayer money is a source of interest. No matter which party is in the White House, more than half of the federal budget goes toward Social Security and Medicare—health care for the elderly. 

To fund the government, the president proposes a budget. Then Congress has to talk it over and vote before anything gets the green light. The approval process generally takes a considerable amount of time. To avoid a government shutdown, Congress usually ushers through temporary spending measures to keep things going.

From Dec. 22, 2018, to Jan. 25, 2019, the longest U.S. government shutdown took place. Hundreds of thousands of employees covering nine executive departments were shut down when President Donald Trump and Congress could not reach an agreement on 2019 fiscal spending. Following up on his campaign promise, Trump refused to sign an appropriations bill that did not include massive funding for the construction of a border wall.

In all, the CBO estimated the shutdown cost the government upwards of $11 billion. Though Trump ended the shutdown by signing a spending bill, he also declared a national emergency to free up billions more for the border. While the unique quality of this particular impasse has garnered a great deal of recent attention, it is not the only controversial—or expensive—moment in budget history.

Using the most recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) data released, Stacker created a list looking back at 52 years of government spending. Governmental statistical agencies and private organizations collected the data, which includes the national income and product accounts, surveys of labor market conditions and prices, the Statistics of Income database, the Current Population Survey, the Survey of Income and Program Participation, data on national health expenditures, various health care surveys, and data on financial transactions. All figures have been adjusted to account for inflation.

Click through to see what government spending looks like through the years.

You may also like:100 countries spending the most on their militaries

2/
Schulimson // Wikimedia Commons

1968

- Total spending: $178 billion ($1.314 trillion inflation-adjusted, 19.8% of GDP)
- Defense: $82 billion ($606 billion inflation-adjusted, 9.1% of GDP)
- Social Security: $23 billion ($172 billion inflation-adjusted, 2.6% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $7 billion ($51 billion inflation-adjusted, 0.8% of GDP)

The war in Vietnam continued in 1968, resulting in a rise in defense spending. President Lyndon B. Johnson requested a tax increase on both corporate and individual incomes—exempt to those in the low-income bracket—to help pay for the continued expenses of the war.

3/
manhhai // Wikimedia Commons

1969

- Total spending: $184 billion ($1.284 trillion inflation-adjusted, 18.7% of GDP)
- Defense: $83 billion ($579 billion inflation-adjusted, 8.4% of GDP)
- Social Security: $27 billion ($187 billion inflation-adjusted, 2.7% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $9 billion ($60 billion inflation-adjusted, 0.8% of GDP)

Defense spending remained high to continue funding the Vietnam war effort. Because of the war, President Johnson requested delaying some federally funded programs as well as a tax increase. By the end of fiscal year 1969, the federal government ended up with a budget surplus.

4/
Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library // Wikimedia Commons

1970

- Total spending: $196 billion ($1.294 trillion inflation-adjusted, 18.6% of GDP)
- Defense: $82 billion ($542 billion inflation-adjusted, 7.8% of GDP)
- Social Security: $30 billion ($196 billion inflation-adjusted, 2.8% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $10 billion ($63 billion inflation-adjusted, 0.9% of GDP)

Before he left office, President Johnson—who signed Medicare and Medicaid into law in 1964—called for a focus on domestic programs to help “disadvantaged groups obtain a fairer share” of the economy. Spending on education, health care, pensions, and welfare all increased in 1970, and the Environmental Protection Agency formed the same year.

5/
University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability // Flickr

1971

- Total spending: $210 billion ($1.333 trillion inflation-adjusted, 18.8% of GDP)
- Defense: $79 billion ($501 billion inflation-adjusted, 7.1% of GDP)
- Social Security: $35 billion ($223 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.1% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $11 billion ($69 billion inflation-adjusted, 1% of GDP)

President Richard Nixon began withdrawing troops from Vietnam in 1969. With the war winding down, defense spending decreased. Environmental supporters held the first Earth Day in 1970, and when President Nixon addressed Congress about the 1971 budget, he called for increased spending to protect environmental pollution.

6/
National Archives for HUlton Archive // Getty Images

1972

- Total spending: $231 billion ($1.417 trillion inflation-adjusted, 18.9% of GDP)
- Defense: $79 billion ($487 billion inflation-adjusted, 6.5% of GDP)
- Social Security: $39 billion ($242 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.2% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $13 billion ($80 billion inflation-adjusted, 1.1% of GDP)

When President Nixon addressed Congress about his 1972 budget, he requested an increase in defense spending. However, the increase from 1971 was still a decrease in the percentage of the overall budget compared to previous years. Because of rising inflation, Nixon enacted a 90-day freeze on prices and wages.

You may also like:U.S. cities with the cleanest air

7/
Robert L. Knudsen // Wikimedia Commons

1973

- Total spending: $246 billion ($1.421 trillion inflation-adjusted, 18.1% of GDP)
- Defense: $77 billion ($446 billion inflation-adjusted, 5.7% of GDP)
- Social Security: $48 billion ($279 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.6% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $14 billion ($79 billion inflation-adjusted, 1% of GDP)

New Social Security legislation led to an increase in Social Security spending in 1973. With the signing of the Paris Peace Accords, the United States ended its direct involvement with the Vietnam War. Defense spending decreased in 1973. Unfortunately, the cost of the war—along with rising gas prices and a crash on Wall Street, led to a three-year recession starting in 1973.

8/
Marion Doss // Flickr

1974

- Total spending: $269 billion ($1.403 trillion inflation-adjusted, 18.1% of GDP)
- Defense: $81 billion ($420 billion inflation-adjusted, 5.4% of GDP)
- Social Security: $55 billion ($286 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.7% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $17 billion ($86 billion inflation-adjusted, 1.1% of GDP)

In his 1974 budget, President Nixon focused on an increase in health care coverage and welfare reform, and both saw the largest increase in spending. The food stamps program (now known as SNAP) began, and Nixon expanded Medicaid with an HMO expansion bill—the Health Maintenance Organization Act, which passed at the end of 1973. Nixon ended the price-wage controls.

9/
Ford library // Wikimedia Commons

1975

- Total spending: $332 billion ($1.586 trillion inflation-adjusted, 20.6% of GDP)
- Defense: $88 billion ($418 billion inflation-adjusted, 5.4% of GDP)
- Social Security: $64 billion ($304 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.9% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $21 billion ($100 billion inflation-adjusted, 1.3% of GDP)

Spending on social welfare programs increased in 1975. Funding continued for welfare programs like food stamps and the Supplemental Security Income, which provides money and access to Medicaid for those 65 and older, and for those who are blind or disabled.

10/
AFP // Getty Images

1976

- Total spending: $372 billion ($1.678 trillion inflation-adjusted, 20.8% of GDP)
- Defense: $90 billion ($406 billion inflation-adjusted, 5% of GDP)
- Social Security: $73 billion ($328 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.1% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $26 billion ($115 billion inflation-adjusted, 1.4% of GDP)

With the Vietnam war in the past, defense spending continued to see the smallest increase of any federal program in 1976. President Gerald Ford cut taxes going into fiscal year 1976, but he vowed not to increase spending on programs other than those dedicated to national security and achieving energy independence.

11/
Central Intelligence Agency // Flickr

1977

- Total spending: $409 billion ($1.734 trillion inflation-adjusted, 20.2% of GDP)
- Defense: $98 billion ($413 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.8% of GDP)
- Social Security: $84 billion ($355 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.1% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $31 billion ($130 billion inflation-adjusted, 1.5% of GDP)

Defending the country was a high priority for President Ford, so he increased defense spending. Funding for Medicare heightened, and a cost-of-living increase for Social Security went through.

You may also like:Defining historical moments from the year you were born

12/
Public Domain // Wikimedia Commons

1978

- Total spending: $459 billion ($1.806 trillion inflation-adjusted, 20.1% of GDP)
- Defense: $105 billion ($412 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.6% of GDP)
- Social Security: $92 billion ($364 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.1% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $35 billion ($138 billion inflation-adjusted, 1.6% of GDP)

President Ford cut taxes and called for a consolidation of other federal programs. While Ford wanted to decrease spending on programs like food stamps, the Democratic-controlled Congress led to an increase in welfare spending during Ford’s presidency.

13/
Central Intelligence Agency // Flickr

1979

- Total spending: $504 billion ($1.782 trillion inflation-adjusted, 19.6% of GDP)
- Defense: $117 billion ($413 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.5% of GDP)
- Social Security: $103 billion ($363 billion inflation-adjusted, 4% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $41 billion ($144 billion inflation-adjusted, 1.6% of GDP)

President Jimmy Carter’s 1979 budget sought an increase in spending only slightly higher than was needed to offset inflation. There was an increase in defense spending and other programs, but no major initiatives were passed. However, Carter asked for an increase in funding for civil rights enforcement as the country increased desegregation in public schools.

14/
pingnews.com // Flickr

1980

- Total spending: $591 billion ($1.841 trillion inflation-adjusted, 21.1% of GDP)
- Defense: $135 billion ($419 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.8% of GDP)
- Social Security: $117 billion ($365 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.2% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $48 billion ($150 billion inflation-adjusted, 1.7% of GDP)

As inflation and oil prices increased, President Carter focused most of the budget increase on welfare programs including Medicaid, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income Program, and Aid to Families with Dependent Children. Spending on unemployment insurance reached its highest level—at the time—in 1980.

15/
White House Photographic Office // Wikimedia Commons

1981

- Total spending: $678 billion ($1.916 trillion inflation-adjusted, 21.6% of GDP)
- Defense: $158 billion ($446 billion inflation-adjusted, 5% of GDP)
- Social Security: $138 billion ($390 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.4% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $58 billion ($164 billion inflation-adjusted, 1.8% of GDP)

In 1981, there were no large cuts to any social programs. Defense and Social Security saw the largest increases. Due to inflation and the subsequent recession, overall spending increased more than President Jimmy Carter had hoped. After the election of President Ronald Reagan, the country saw the largest tax cuts in history when the Economic Recovery Tax Act—also known as Reaganomics—was signed.

16/
Michael Evans // Wikimedia Commons

1982

- Total spending: $746 billion ($1.984 trillion inflation-adjusted, 22.5% of GDP)
- Defense: $186 billion ($495 billion inflation-adjusted, 5.6% of GDP)
- Social Security: $154 billion ($409 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.6% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $67 billion ($177 billion inflation-adjusted, 2% of GDP)

President Reagan did not approve of “excessive” government spending on programs like food stamps. So in 1982, welfare funding decreased, and defense spending rose. To combat unemployment, Congress passed the Job Training Partnership Act to create job-training programs for low-income people.

You may also like:Famous declassified government secrets

17/
National Archives // Wikimedia Commons

1983

- Total spending: $808 billion ($2.084 trillion inflation-adjusted, 22.8% of GDP)
- Defense: $210 billion ($541 billion inflation-adjusted, 5.9% of GDP)
- Social Security: $169 billion ($434 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.8% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $75 billion ($192 billion inflation-adjusted, 2.1% of GDP)

Before Reagan sent his 1983 budget to Congress, the Congressional Budget Office warned that the previous increase in defense spending paired with tax cuts would drastically increase the federal deficit. Reagan still increased defense spending while cutting funding for education and welfare programs that mostly affected the poor.

18/
White House Museum // Wikimedia Commons

1984

- Total spending: $852 billion ($2.105 trillion inflation-adjusted, 21.5% of GDP)
- Defense: $228 billion ($563 billion inflation-adjusted, 5.8% of GDP)
- Social Security: $176 billion ($435 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.5% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $81 billion ($201 billion inflation-adjusted, 2% of GDP)

The 1984 budget saw cuts in welfare services, including continued cuts to the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program. Cost-of-living increases were delayed for those receiving federal retirement and Social Security benefits.

19/
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library // Wikimedia Commons

1985

- Total spending: $946 billion ($2.258 trillion inflation-adjusted, 22.2% of GDP)
- Defense: $253 billion ($604 billion inflation-adjusted, 5.9% of GDP)
- Social Security: $186 billion ($445 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.4% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $92 billion ($220 billion inflation-adjusted, 2.1% of GDP)

President Reagan continued his trend of cutting social programs and increasing defense spending. The U.S. also withdrew its funding for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) the same year.

20/
PD-USGOV // Wikimedia Commons

1986

- Total spending: $990 billion ($2.320 trillion inflation-adjusted, 21.8% of GDP)
- Defense: $274 billion ($641 billion inflation-adjusted, 6% of GDP)
- Social Security: $197 billion ($460 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.3% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $99 billion ($232 billion inflation-adjusted, 2.2% of GDP)

After a seven-week deadlock, Congress adopted the 1986 budget. The compromise included no significant changes to taxes or Social Security and allowed military spending to increase only with inflation. Deep cuts to social services that impact the elderly and poor were avoided. The fiscal 1986 federal deficit hit $220.7 billion, the highest in history at the time.

21/
CHRIS WILKINS for AFP // Getty Images

1987

- Total spending: $1.004 trillion ($2.269 trillion inflation-adjusted, 21% of GDP)
- Defense: $283 billion ($639 billion inflation-adjusted, 5.9% of GDP)
- Social Security: $205 billion ($464 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.3% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $107 billion ($243 billion inflation-adjusted, 2.3% of GDP)

In 1987, Reagan sent the first trillion-dollar budget. He continued his efforts to eliminate federal funding for the Amtrak rail service and lower spending for food stamps and federal housing while increasing defense spending—but at a smaller rate than in his previous budgets. At the beginning of the 1987 fiscal year, Reagan lowered individual tax rates again when he signed the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

You may also like:Former jobs of the governor of every state

22/
MartinHagberg // Wikimedia Commons

1988

- Total spending: $1.064 trillion ($2.310 trillion inflation-adjusted, 20.6% of GDP)
- Defense: $291 billion ($631 billion inflation-adjusted, 5.6% of GDP)
- Social Security: $217 billion ($471 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.2% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $116 billion ($252 billion inflation-adjusted, 2.3% of GDP)

The 1988 budget didn’t have any major changes from the previous year and did nothing to decrease the federal deficit. The budget angered some Democrats because it provided funding for rebels fighting the government of Nicaragua.

23/
JEROME DELAY for AFP // Getty Images

1989

- Total spending: $1.144 trillion ($2.368 trillion inflation-adjusted, 20.5% of GDP)
- Defense: $304 billion ($629 billion inflation-adjusted, 5.5% of GDP)
- Social Security: $230 billion ($477 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.1% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $128 billion ($265 billion inflation-adjusted, 2.3% of GDP)

Congress disputed the 1989 budget for a month which ultimately placed limits on military, domestic, and international spending, but didn’t include any automatic spending cuts. While most programs were given just enough to keep up with inflation, extra funding went toward AIDS research and treatment, anti-drug initiatives, and space and air traffic control.

24/
KEVIN LARKIN for AFP // Getty Images

1990

- Total spending: $1.253 trillion ($2.462 trillion inflation-adjusted, 21.2% of GDP)
- Defense: $300 billion ($590 billion inflation-adjusted, 5.1% of GDP)
- Social Security: $247 billion ($484 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.2% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $148 billion ($291 billion inflation-adjusted, 2.5% of GDP)

The 1990 budget saw a slight decrease in defense spending, with an increase in funding for health care and welfare programs. In accordance with the budget-balancing law, the plan left a deficit of $99.7 billion, which was just shy of the $100 billion ceiling.

25/
DAVID AKE for AFP // Getty Images

1991

- Total spending: $1.324 trillion ($2.496 trillion inflation-adjusted, 21.7% of GDP)
- Defense: $320 billion ($603 billion inflation-adjusted, 5.2% of GDP)
- Social Security: $267 billion ($503 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.4% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $167 billion ($314 billion inflation-adjusted, 2.8% of GDP)

The government shut down for three days before the House could agree on a budget for 1991. Although President George H. W. Bush campaigned on the promise that he wouldn’t raise taxes, he broke this pledge with the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, causing a revolt among members of his own party. The law raised taxes on those in the top income tax bracket, set a cap on discretionary spending like defense, and required that any new entitlement benefits or tax cuts be paid for with cuts elsewhere.

26/
Steve Eason for Hulton Archive // Getty Images

1992

- Total spending: $1.382 trillion ($2.528 trillion inflation-adjusted, 21.5% of GDP)
- Defense: $303 billion ($554 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.7% of GDP)
- Social Security: $285 billion ($522 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.4% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $197 billion ($361 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.1% of GDP)

As more Americans joined Medicaid, expenses for the health care program increased. A recession contributed to the rise.

You may also like:Counties with the highest rate of food insecure children

27/
PAMELA PRICE for AFP // Getty Images

1993

- Total spending: $1.409 trillion ($2.504 trillion inflation-adjusted, 20.7% of GDP)
- Defense: $292 billion ($520 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.3% of GDP)
- Social Security: $302 billion ($537 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.4% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $219 billion ($389 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.2% of GDP)

As the economy recovered from a recession, the 1993 budget showed only modest increases in spending. However, Social Security overtook defense spending for the first time.

28/
DAVID AKE for AFP // Getty Images

1994

- Total spending: $1.462 trillion ($2.533 trillion inflation-adjusted, 20.3% of GDP)
- Defense: $282 billion ($489 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.9% of GDP)
- Social Security: $317 billion ($549 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.4% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $242 billion ($419 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.3% of GDP)

In the first budget proposed by President Bill Clinton, spending on defense decreased. In an effort to reduce the deficit, Clinton signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, which raised corporate taxes and those on the wealthy—the highest peacetime tax hike in history. Social Security benefits for high-income earners were also taxed.

29/
Maureen Keating // Wikimedia Commons

1995

- Total spending: $1.516 trillion ($2.554 trillion inflation-adjusted, 20% of GDP)
- Defense: $274 billion ($461 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.6% of GDP)
- Social Security: $333 billion ($562 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.4% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $266 billion ($448 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.5% of GDP)

With no wars on the horizon, defense spending decreased, and Clinton significantly reduced the size of the military. However, these cutbacks were a continuation of reductions enacted by his predecessor, President George H. W. Bush.

30/
Stringer for AFP // Getty Images

1996

- Total spending: $1.561 trillion ($2.554 trillion inflation-adjusted, 19.6% of GDP)
- Defense: $266 billion ($435 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.3% of GDP)
- Social Security: $347 billion ($568 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.3% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $283 billion ($464 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.6% of GDP)

The U.S. government shut down over the 1996 budget due to a disagreement over domestic spending cuts between President Clinton and Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. In the end, both parties agreed to balance the budget in seven years.

31/
JOYCE NALTCHAYAN for AFP // Getty Images

1997

- Total spending: $1.601 trillion ($2.561 trillion inflation-adjusted, 18.9% of GDP)
- Defense: $272 billion ($435 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.2% of GDP)
- Social Security: $362 billion ($580 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.3% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $304 billion ($486 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.6% of GDP)

Right before the start of the 1997 fiscal year, President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which increased the work requirement for welfare recipients, gave state governments more responsibility over welfare services, and reduced welfare spending by the federal government.

You may also like:"I have a dream" and the rest of the greatest speeches of the 20th Century

32/
PAUL J. RICHARDS for AFP // Getty Images

1998

- Total spending: $1.653 trillion ($2.603 trillion inflation-adjusted, 18.5% of GDP)
- Defense: $270 billion ($426 billion inflation-adjusted, 3% of GDP)
- Social Security: $376 billion ($592 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.2% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $312 billion ($492 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.5% of GDP)

Fiscal year 1998 ended in a budget surplus for the first time in 30 years. With America in peacetime, the economy expanded, and President Clinton did not increase defense spending.

33/
JOYCE NALTCHAYAN for AFP // Getty Images

1999

- Total spending: $1.702 trillion ($2.623 trillion inflation-adjusted, 17.9% of GDP)
- Defense: $276 billion ($425 billion inflation-adjusted, 2.9% of GDP)
- Social Security: $387 billion ($596 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.1% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $317 billion ($489 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.3% of GDP)

The 1999 budget preserved the budget surplus. The bill also included a measure requiring health care providers to cover most prescription contraceptives for federal workers. However, it allowed individual doctors to deny coverage if they objected on a moral or religious basis.

34/
GEORGE BRIDGES // Getty Images

2000

- Total spending: $1.789 trillion ($2.667 trillion inflation-adjusted, 17.6% of GDP)
- Defense: $295 billion ($440 billion inflation-adjusted, 2.9% of GDP)
- Social Security: $406 billion ($605 billion inflation-adjusted, 4% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $334 billion ($498 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.3% of GDP)

Congress approved the budget on time for fiscal year 2000, with spending on par with that of the previous year. President Clinton boasted another year of surplus, the largest in history.

35/
MANNY CENETA for AFP // Getty Images

2001

- Total spending: $1.863 trillion ($2.701 trillion inflation-adjusted, 17.6% of GDP)
- Defense: $306 billion ($444 billion inflation-adjusted, 2.9% of GDP)
- Social Security: $429 billion ($623 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.1% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $367 billion ($533 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.5% of GDP)

The budget surplus shrank under President George W. Bush. In 2001, the U.S. experienced an eight-month recession. To aid in recovery, the president enacted the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act, also known as the Bush tax cuts.

36/
STEPHEN JAFFE for AFP // Getty Images

2002

- Total spending: $2.011 trillion ($2.870 trillion inflation-adjusted, 18.5% of GDP)
- Defense: $349 billion ($498 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.2% of GDP)
- Social Security: $452 billion ($645 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.2% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $401 billion ($573 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.7% of GDP)

The approved 2002 budget was similar to the original proposed by President Bush. It called for tax cuts and an increase in defense spending. The USA PATRIOT Act—which passed in response to the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 and increased law enforcement’s ability to conduct searches relating to terrorism—passed in fiscal year 2002. The U.S. also entered a war with Afghanistan, which ultimately became the longest war in U.S. history.

You may also like:Most dangerous countries for journalists

37/
Arlo K. Abrahamson // Wikimedia Commons

2003

- Total spending: $2.160 trillion ($3.014 trillion inflation-adjusted, 19.1% of GDP)
- Defense: $405 billion ($565 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.6% of GDP)
- Social Security: $471 billion ($657 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.2% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $435 billion ($607 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.8% of GDP)

Defense spending continued to increase in 2003. The Department of Homeland Security was created at the start of the fiscal year, with the invasion of Iraq taking place in March 2003.

38/
Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson // Wikimedia Commons

2004

- Total spending: $2.293 trillion ($3.116 trillion inflation-adjusted, 19% of GDP)
- Defense: $454 billion ($617 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.8% of GDP)
- Social Security: $492 billion ($668 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.1% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $473 billion ($643 billion inflation-adjusted, 4% of GDP)

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq continued and so did the rise in defense spending. The president also called for more tax cuts.

39/
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI // Getty Images

2005

- Total spending: $2.472 trillion ($3.250 trillion inflation-adjusted, 19.2% of GDP)
- Defense: $494 billion ($649 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.8% of GDP)
- Social Security: $519 billion ($682 billion inflation-adjusted, 4% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $517 billion ($679 billion inflation-adjusted, 4% of GDP)

Spending in 2005 mirrored that of 2004. Defense spending continued to be a priority for President Bush, who sought cuts or eliminations in many domestic programs, including funding for drug treatment centers and the air traffic system. He also sought to make his tax cuts permanent.

40/
PAUL J.RICHARDS for AFP // Getty Images

2006

- Total spending: $2.655 trillion ($3.382 trillion inflation-adjusted, 19.4% of GDP)
- Defense: $520 billion ($662 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.8% of GDP)
- Social Security: $544 billion ($693 billion inflation-adjusted, 4% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $557 billion ($710 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.1% of GDP)

The budget deficit reached an all-time high in 2006. The approved budget saw cuts to Medicaid and a freeze on domestic programs, but there were no cuts on funding for the military or domestic security.

41/
Alex Wong // Getty Images

2007

- Total spending: $2.729 trillion ($3.380 trillion inflation-adjusted, 19.1% of GDP)
- Defense: $548 billion ($679 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.8% of GDP)
- Social Security: $581 billion ($720 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.1% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $627 billion ($776 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.3% of GDP)

The trend in prioritizing defense spending over funding domestic programs continued in 2007. President Bush increased the number of troops in Iraq in January 2007.

You may also like:50 endangered species that only live in the Amazon Rainforest

42/
Pool // Getty Images

2008

- Total spending: $2.983 trillion ($3.557 trillion inflation-adjusted, 20.2% of GDP)
- Defense: $612 billion ($730 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.2% of GDP)
- Social Security: $612 billion ($730 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.1% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $657 billion ($784 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.5% of GDP)

With no withdrawal timetable in sight, the Democratic-led Congress approved more funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Health care spending on Medicaid and Medicare also increased in 2008.

43/
U.S. Air Force // Public Domain

2009

- Total spending: $3.518 trillion ($4.211 trillion inflation-adjusted, 24.4% of GDP)
- Defense: $657 billion ($786 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.6% of GDP)
- Social Security: $678 billion ($811 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.7% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $751 billion ($899 billion inflation-adjusted, 5.2% of GDP)

America was in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, so President Barack Obama passed an almost $800 billion stimulus package shortly after his inauguration. The biggest banks in the country received federal bailouts to prevent their bankruptcy and a further collapse of the American economy. The recession contributed to a large budget deficit. Obama introduced the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, in 2009.

44/
Pete Souza // Official White House Photo

2010

- Total spending: $3.457 trillion ($4.070 trillion inflation-adjusted, 23.4% of GDP)
- Defense: $689 billion ($811 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.7% of GDP)
- Social Security: $701 billion ($825 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.7% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $793 billion ($934 billion inflation-adjusted, 5.3% of GDP)

Fiscal year 2010 marked the first budget proposed by President Obama. Banks—including smaller community banks—continued to receive federal funds. In March 2010, Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, increasing government spending on health care.

45/
Wknight94 // Wikimedia Commons

2011

- Total spending: $3.603 trillion ($4.114 trillion inflation-adjusted, 23.4% of GDP)
- Defense: $699 billion ($798 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.5% of GDP)
- Social Security: $725 billion ($828 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.7% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $835 billion ($953 billion inflation-adjusted, 5.4% of GDP)

Half of the fiscal year was already over before Republicans and Democrats agreed to a budget for 2011. With one hour to spare, Congress voted on a bill. Democrats agreed to cut a larger amount from the budget than they would have liked when the Republicans agreed not to defund Planned Parenthood. Obamacare provided subsidies to those who couldn’t afford health insurance, which led to an all-time high in spending for health care.

46/
Alex Wong // Getty Images

2012

- Total spending: $3.537 trillion ($3.955 trillion inflation-adjusted, 22.1% of GDP)
- Defense: $671 billion ($750 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.2% of GDP)
- Social Security: $768 billion ($859 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.8% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $802 billion ($897 billion inflation-adjusted, 5% of GDP)

While Congress passed stopgap measures to fund the government, they never officially agreed on a budget for 2012. This created a debt-ceiling crisis, which resulted in a downgrade of America’s credit rating.

You may also like:25 terms you should know to understand the health care debate

47/
Chuck Kennedy // Official White House Photo

2013

- Total spending: $3.455 trillion ($3.807 trillion inflation-adjusted, 20.9% of GDP)
- Defense: $626 billion ($690 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.8% of GDP)
- Social Security: $808 billion ($890 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.9% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $851 billion ($937 billion inflation-adjusted, 5.1% of GDP)

President Obama’s 2013 budget was never approved. The Republican-controlled house—which sought to repeal Obamacare and privatize Medicare—passed continuing measures to keep the government funded instead of agreeing on a plan for the budget.

48/
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI for AFP // Getty Images

2014

- Total spending: $3.506 trillion ($3.803 trillion inflation-adjusted, 20.3% of GDP)
- Defense: $596 billion ($647 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.5% of GDP)
- Social Security: $845 billion ($917 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.9% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $901 billion ($978 billion inflation-adjusted, 5.2% of GDP)

The government shut down for 16 days when an agreement couldn’t be reached on the 2014 budget—which mainly occurred because of Republican disapproval over funding for Obamacare. The shutdown ended with minor changes to the president’s health care legacy and an increase in the debt ceiling.

49/
Win McNamee // Getty Images

2015

- Total spending: $3.688 trillion ($3.996 trillion inflation-adjusted, 20.5% of GDP)
- Defense: $583 billion ($632 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.2% of GDP)
- Social Security: $882 billion ($955 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.9% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $984 billion ($1.066 trillion inflation-adjusted, 5.4% of GDP)

While the government almost faced another shutdown due to partisan disagreements, both parties agreed on including $64 billion in spending for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, along with training Syrian rebels in their fight against the Islamic State. The bill also included a 1% pay increase for soldiers and a 1% cost-of-living increase for federal workers.

50/
Mark Wilson // Getty Images

2016

- Total spending: $3.853 trillion ($4.122 trillion inflation-adjusted, 20.9% of GDP)
- Defense: $585 billion ($626 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.2% of GDP)
- Social Security: $910 billion ($974 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.9% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $1.061 trillion ($1.135 trillion inflation-adjusted, 5.7% of GDP)

Congress passed the 2016 budget on Dec. 18, 2015, avoiding a government shutdown right before the holidays. The budget provided additional funding for expanded Medicaid and Medicare programs, but it postponed taxes that would fund Obamacare in the future. It also kept tax cuts and increased defense spending.

51/
Pool // Getty Images

2017

- Total spending: $3.982 trillion ($4.171 trillion inflation-adjusted, 20.8% of GDP)
- Defense: $590 billion ($618 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.1% of GDP)
- Social Security: $939 billion ($984 billion inflation-adjusted, 4.9% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $1.077 trillion ($1.128 trillion inflation-adjusted, 5.7% of GDP)

Congress agreed on a budget in April 2017—six months after the Oct. 1 beginning of the fiscal year. The Trump administration agreed to continue funding major parts of the 2010 Affordable Care Act and eliminate their request for funding a wall along the Mexican border.

You may also like:ARTICLE: How Lil Nas X broke all-time music streaming records with "Old Town Road"

52/
NICHOLAS KAMM // Getty Images

2018

- Total spending: $4.109 trillion ($4.212 trillion inflation-adjusted, 20.3% of GDP)
- Defense: $622 billion ($638 billion inflation-adjusted, 3.1% of GDP)
- Social Security: $982 billion ($1.007 trillion inflation-adjusted, 4.9% of GDP)
- Medicare/Medicaid: $1.093 trillion ($1.120 trillion inflation-adjusted, 5.4% of GDP)

President Donald Trump’s first proposed budget, “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” was an attempt to deliver on his campaign platform of increased funding for defense and the border. In March 2018, the funding bill was passed for his first full fiscal year in office; despite his promise of eliminating debt over two terms, the U.S. debt reached a six-year high.

53/
Mark Wilson // Getty Images

2019

- Total spending (projected): $4.411 trillion
- Defense (projected): $670 billion
- Social security (projected): $1.038 trillion
- Medicare/Medicaid (projected): $1.247 trillion

In 2019 the six-year high became seven for the increasing American debt, as the federal deficit rose to just shy of $1 trillion. The combination of massive spending bills and enormous tax cuts meant an unprecedented gap between spending and funding. The CBO projects 2020 could see the deficit reach the trillion-dollar mark.

2018 All rights reserved.