Unexpectedly Intriguing!
September 25, 2012

Now that the U.S. Census has released its newest estimate of median household income in the United States, it's time to consider where the U.S. federal government spending per U.S. household stands with respect to the Zero Deficit Line, which is the amount of spending that the typical American household can actually afford. The chart below shows those two measures for each year since 1967, when the Census first began reporting its median household income figure:

Looking at the chart, we see that for the third year in a row, the amount of U.S. federal government spending per household is hovering just below $30,000 per U.S. household. Our tool below will reveal how much spending can actually be supported by the typical American household given its annual income of $50,054 (or whatever median household income level you might choose to enter!)

Median Household Income Data
Input Data Values
Median Household Income
How Much Federal Spending Per Household Can the U.S. Really Afford?
Estimated Results Values
Federal Spending per U.S. Household

Using our tool, we find that in reality, the typical American household can only afford to have the federal government spend no more than $21,059.

On a side note, do you remember the old Warner Brothers' Road Runner cartoons? The ones where Wile E. Coyote would be chasing after the bird, then suddenly find himself suspended in mid-air beyond the edge of a cliff, until he looked down and finally crashed back to earth?

The level of federal spending per household since 2008 and the lack of meaningful growth in the incomes of U.S. households under President Obama, combined with all the talk these days of the approaching "fiscal cliff" suggests that there is one giant "splat" sound in the near future for the U.S.

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