The Ryan Plan: Getting Federal Spending Under Control

by: Mark J. Perry
The chart above shows quarterly federal government spending (current expenditures) as a share of GDP (data here), with actual data from 1976 to 2010 and projected estimates from 2011 to 2021 according to the Ryan Plan.

Looking at federal spending as a share of GDP during the terms of U.S. presidents, federal spending increased under Carter and both Bushes, remained about the same under Reagan, decreased under Clinton to the lowest level since 1970 and skyrocketed under Obama to the highest level since WWII. If the Ryan Plan is successful at getting federal spending below 20% of GDP by 2018, it would the first time since 2002 that the size of the federal government is below one-fifth of the U.S. economy.