Some Huge, Big, Gigantic Numbers in the GOP House Budget Plan (and Obama's)


As Peter Suderman has noted, the House Republicans have released their budget plan, which, despite lavishes tens of billions of extra dollars on the Dept. of Defense, is still being booed by GOP war hawks.

Here are the topline figures of what the Republicans want to spend and take in via taxes over the coming decade:

In a sense, none of this matters, even the figures for fiscal 2016, which starts in October. That's because budgets are political documents that are part of a negotiation among the president (who released his budget plan some weeks ago), the House, and the Senate (its plan is yet to come). But among non-binding figures, some numbers count for less than others and I'm a big fan of focusing most on outlays for the next year or so. The government can actually control how much it spends in the near term, while its ability to generate revenue or guesstimate things down the road is much shakier.

So this much we know, the GOP House wants to spend $3.8 trillion next year. That compares with President Obama's wish to spend $4 trillion next year. Obama's budget summary is below:

If Milton Friedman was right to say that the ultimate cost of government is the amount of money it spends, then here is the choice we are faced with in 2016 so far: The president wants to spend the equivalent of 21.3 percent of GDP while the GOP House wants to spend 20.3 percent.

Over the next decade, if the president got his way, we'd have average spending of 21.7 percent of GDP each year. The GOP would trim that to just 18.8 percent of GDP, which is a much smaller number and a not particularly convincing one. Under the first four years in the Bush years, after all, when the GOP held the White House and both house of Congress, the government spent 19.1 percent, 19.7 percent, 19.6 percent, and 19.9 percent of GDP.

For a more specific breakdown of spending by category, here's the way the GOP figures things:

The "Discretionary" figure above includes spending on defense, to which the "Global War on Terrorism" figure must be added. All told, the GOP is pushing for $617 billion on defense/global war on terrorism in spending for 2016. That compares to Obama's $605 billion below (which doesn't break things out into the same categories).