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Runaway Spending, Not Inadequate Tax Revenue, Is Responsible for Future Deficits

Created on November 3, 2011

Runaway Spending, Not Inadequate Tax Revenue, Is Responsible for Future Deficits

Percentage of GDP

The main driver behind long-term deficits is government spending— not low revenues. While revenue will surpass its historical average of 18.0 percent of GDP by 2021, spending will shoot past its historical average of 20.3 percent, reaching 26.4 percent in the same year.

18.4%

14.8%

26.4%

24.7%

Averages for 1960–2009:

18.0% Revenue

20.3% Spending

Source: Heritage Foundation calculations using Congressional Budget Office, The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2011–2021, January 2011, at http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/120xx/doc12039/01-26_FY2011Outlook.pdf (November 3, 2011).

Chart 1 •  WM 3405

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