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Tax Receipts Plummet as Americans ‘Go Galt’

Why this year’s deficit will probably be even worse than predicted. (Also see Andrew Klavan's "Night of the Living Government.")

by
Tom Blumer

Bio

April 15, 2009 - 12:00 am
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On Good Friday, just ahead of Tea Party Wednesday, the Treasury Department delivered the latest news concerning Washington’s ongoing crucifixion of future generations’ financial well-being.

Straight from Uncle Sam’s March Monthly Treasury Statement, here is how the first six months of the federal government’s current fiscal year compare to last year:

deficitsthrough6mosfy09v08

If spending continues at the rate seen during this year’s first six months, the government will exceed last year’s outlays on July 6.

There’s little reason to believe the spending spree will slow down.

Even in supposedly routine areas, outlays have ballooned. Here is a short list of how some departments have been hemorrhaging dollars in comparison to last year:

  • The Department of Agriculture is up $9.9 billion, or 18%.
  • Defense (which, despite its importance, is in need of serious cost control) is up $23.5 billion, or 8%.
  • Health and Human Services is up $40.6 billion, or 12%.
  • Labor Department spending has more than doubled to $52.7 billion from $25.1 billion, largely reflecting its open-wallet approach towards bailing out state unemployment insurance funds.
  • The Social Security Administration is up $24.4 billion, or close to 8%.

Then there are the new spending monsters on the block. The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) has disbursed $293.5 billion out of the $700 billion Congress authorized in early October. Much of it was “given” to banks with a (figurative) gun pointed to CEOs’ heads. There is strong evidence that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and President Barack Obama are refusing TARP repayments from larger banks that want to get out from under the government’s current and imminent onerous terms. Does anyone want to bet against the remaining $400 billion-plus being forced out to either the willing or unwilling?

Remember Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Those were the government-sponsored enterprises Barney Frank, Maxine Waters, and other Democrats said were in ship shape not too long ago. Through March, Frank, Waters, et al. have “only” been wrong to the tune of almost $60 billion the Treasury has spent to shore up whatever remains of those two entities. This amount, by the way, roughly matches the worst estimates of the total losses from Enron, with one important difference: Investors and employees primarily ate Enron’s losses. Taxpayers are on the hook for Fan and Fred. Does anyone seriously think those two entities are done draining the Treasury?

Oh, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better (if it ever does). Not only has spending rocketed, but as you can see above, receipts have also fallen precipitously.

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