Can the budget deficit be solved by cutting earmarks? How about cutting 100% of all federal non-defense discretionary expenditures?

That is the question reader “David” asked and answered in the following email.

Hello Mish

Here is a chart I created using budget projections from the CBO. The main point is from now until 2020, we could eliminate 100% of all federal non-defense discretionary expenditures and still run a deficit.

I went back to the data after getting into one too many arguments with people who claim that we can solve our budgetary problems by eliminating government “waste” – the programs that study the sex lives of jellyfish and that sort of thing – without real cuts in entitlement programs.

Unless the Budget Fairy waves her magic wand, it’s not going to happen.


US Federal Revenues and Expenditures 2000-2020

click on chart for sharper image

Data for the projections in the above chart is from a link found at the bottom right hand corner of the CBO Report Analysis of the President’s 2011 Budget. The header says Additional Info “Budget Projections”. Click on the link that says “data” to download an Excel spreadsheet.

Data for 2009 and before came from the CBO report Budget and Economic Information. There is a link on the right about halfway down that says “Monthly Reviews and Historical Data.” Click on the “Excel” link to download a spreadsheet.

Entitlement Spending Growth

click on chart for sharper image

Both charts are from David who posts on the No Money No Worries blog.

Inquiring minds may wish to check it out.

Thanks David.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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