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.


  1. Brian Phillips

    Government needs to shrink at every level.  Entitlement spending is out of control.  Not only does this increased spending put us further in debt, but it makes people less dependent on themselves and more on the government, which only makes the problem worse.  

  2. GreedyCapitalistPig

    Why can’t people understand this about government spending? This is one of the most frustrating things that I apparently can’t effectively communicate. I guess it’s like that saying, "It’s difficult to make a man understand something when his paycheck depends on him not understanding it."

  3. Anderson Chaves

    Sooo interesting!!

  4. Slade Sumners

    interesting video

  5. Geoff Ding

    Australia is heading in that problematical direction.

  6. Anonymous

    Errrr… how about taxing the religious institutions?

  7. Grady Flanagan

    I always ask my students if we should even worry about this. We are such a global, symbiotic economy that there isn’t much that would hurt us that wouldn’t hurt others. Probably gonna have to reset the entire system one day.

  8. Jonathan LeVeille

    Honestly, I wish that we could just cut everything but core governmental functions. If we abandoned the paternalistic outlook that asks the government to oversee our daily lives, we could cut most programs from our government. Then we would just have to put the freed up money towards our debt.

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