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Presidential Spending: Expenditures by Year

A statistical breakdown of presidential spending to GDP ratio from 1981 to present day.

Expenditures by the presidency every year

U.S. GDP vs. U.S. Expenditures

Each president has had his own spending style and a different, current GDP amount. Ronald Reagan began his eight-year term in 1981 with a GDP amount of about $3 trillion. During that year, the expenditures were about $1 trillion. Both the GDP and the expenditure number climbed steadily during Reagan’s two terms. The final year of Reagan’s second term, 1988, saw a U.S. GDP of about $5 trillion and expenditures of about $1.75 trillion

George H. W. Bush was president during four years of steady GDP and expenditure growth, starting with a GDP of about $5 trillion in 1989. There were about $2 trillion in expenditures in 1989. At the end of his term, in 1992, the U.S. had a GDP of about $6.5 trillion. The U.S. government expenditures in 1992 were $2 trillion.

President Bill Clinton came into office with a U.S. GDP of $7 trillion in 1993. The expenditures of the U.S. government in 1993 were about $2 trillion. During Clinton’s eighth year of office, the GDP had greatly grown while the amount of U.S. expenditures rose moderately. The last year that Clinton was in office, 2000, showed the lowest expenditure to GDP ratio. That ratio was 32.6 percent. The GDP in 2000 was about $10 trillion. The U.S. expenditures of 2000 were about $3.2 trillion.

George W. Bush took office in 2001, and the GDP of the U.S. was about $10.3 trillion. The U.S. expenditures in 2001 were about $3.3 trillion. For the last year of George W. Bush’s two terms, in 2008, the U.S. GDP was about $14 trillion. The U.S. expenditures in 2008 were about $5 trillion.

President Barrack Obama took office in 2009 with the highest expenditure to GDP ratio. The ratio was 44.7 percent. In 2009, the U.S. GDP was about $14 trillion. U.S. expenditures were about $6.2 trillion. In 2010, the GDP is about $14.6 trillion. U.S. expenditures were about $7 trillion.

Spending Breakdown

During his eight years in office, President Reagan spent 15.9 percent of the expenditures on pensions. He spent 9.9 percent of the expenditures on health care. Education made up 14.4 percent of the expenditures. During that time, 19.2 percent of the expenditures were spent on defense. Welfare made up 9.4 percent of expenditures. The rest of the expenditures, 31.2 percent, went to miscellaneous expenses.

During his four years in office, President George H. W. Bush spent 15 percent of the expenditures on pensions. 10.7 percent of the expenditures were spent on health care. Education made up 14.4 percent of the expenditures. During that time, 16.7 percent of the expenditures were spent on defense. Welfare made up 8.5 percent of expenditures. The rest of the expenditures, 34.7 percent, went to miscellaneous expenses.

During the two terms of President Bill Clinton, 16.5 percent of the expenditures were spent on pensions. 14.1 percent of the expenditures were spent on health care. Education made up 17.3 percent of the expenditures. During that time, 12.4 percent of the expenditures were spent on defense. Welfare made up 9 percent of expenditures. The rest of the expenditures, 30.7 percent, went to miscellaneous expenses.

During the two terms of President George W. Bush, 16.3 percent of the expenditures were spent on pensions. 16.1 percent of the expenditures were spent on health care. Education made up 16.5 percent of the expenditures. During that time, 12.6 percent of the expenditures were spent on defense. Welfare made up 8.9 percent of expenditures. The rest of the expenditures, 29.6 percent, went to miscellaneous expenses.

In President Barrack Obama’s first two years in office, 15.2 percent of the expenditures were spent on pensions. 16.5 percent of the expenditures were spent on health care. Education made up 15.5 percent of the expenditures. During that time, 13.4 percent of the expenditures were spent on defense. Welfare made up 10.6 percent of expenditures. The rest of the expenditures, 28.8 percent, went to miscellaneous expenses.