Most of Our Federal Budget Is Being Doled Out for Redistribution


CATO Institute’s Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at Cato and editor of Downsizing Government, broke down the federal budget and, to all redistribution deniers, I beg you to examine the chart.

Edwards breaks down the budget into “five basic spending activities: compensating federal workers, purchasing goods and services, giving aid to state and local governments, transferring wealth through subsidy and benefit programs, and paying interest on the federal debt.”

“The federal government spent $3.9 trillion in 2013, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Transfers were the largest spending activity at $1.98 trillion, followed by purchases at $571 billion, aid to the states at $510 billion, interest at $414 billion, and compensation at $407 billion.”

Most of the money is being transferred to: Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, refundable tax credits, unemployment insurance, farm subsidies (which are mostly food stamp programs – there are 15 food stamp programs), and supplemental security income.

We are now spending 11% on interest.


Redistribution accounts are the largest and fastest-growing activity. We are spending less on defense but more than double on entitlements since 1970.

Please go to CATO to read more.