The Growth of Discretionary and Mandatory Spending

In Analysis by Michael Rae

The U.S. government’s spending has grown by leaps and bounds over the last five and half decades. Will Geary, aka “TransitMapper”, developed a pretty cool side-by-side visualization of the inflation-adjusted growth of the federal government’s major discretionary and mandatory spending programs, which gives an idea of how much the magnitude and share of that spending has grown from 1962 through the present year, as well as how much they are projected to grow through 2023.

Discretionary spending represents expenditures that the U.S. Congress votes upon every year, such as funding for the U.S. military, government agencies, et cetera.

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