Funding Government by the Minute

In 2011, the federal government received $2.2 trillion from all revenue sources and spent 3.8 trillion, resulting in a $1.6 trillion deficit. To put federal government spending in perspective, economics professor Antony Davies shows how long it takes the government to run out of money and how much the government needs to cut to make it through the end of the year.

Suppose that on January 1 the government received its revenue of $2.2 trillion and began spending. To spend $3.8 trillion in one year means the government spends at the rate of $434 million an hour, or more than $10 billion a day.

With $2.2 trillion to spend, spending at a rate of $434 million an hour, the federal government runs out of money at 11:59 p.m. on July 31. To eliminate the deficit the government needs to cut five months’ worth of spending. Professor Davies shows that perhaps just cutting programs is not going to be enough to balance the budget.

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