Budget Reflects Changing Times


I’ve seen these federal budget comparisons before, but they prove to be a somewhat fascinating look at how our nation has changed over the past 40-plus years. In this case, Kiplinger breaks down 1968 vs. projected fiscal year 2012. Some of the highlights:

  • Defense was an amazing 46% of the budget in 1968; it’s 19.8% now
  • In 1968, Social Security (13.4%), Medicare (2.3%) and Medicaid (1.1%) totaled less than 17%; today, it’s 20.6%, 13.2% and 7.2%, respectively, for a total of 41%
  • Not part of the picture 43 years ago, but with dollar numbers in the billions now are food stamps (2.2%, $80 billion), housing subsidies (1.6%, $61 billion), low-income tax credit (1.3%, $47 billion), supplemental security income (1.2%, $44 billion), nutrition programs (0.7%, $26 billion) and disaster relief (0.3%, $11 billion)

Maybe the scariest part is putting those billions next to the big-ticket social programs. The message: Something has to be done.

  • Social Security: $767 billion
  • Medicare: $492 billion
  • Medicaid: $269 billion
  • Net interest on debt: $242 billion