Federal spending in Missouri equivalent of more than a fifth of economy

Federal spending in Missouri in 2014 was the equivalent of 22.8 percent of the state’s economy, according to a new report from Pew Research Center.

The report shows that federal spending rose by about 25 percent in current-dollar terms between 2005 and 2014, spurred heavily by rising spending on retirement programs for aging baby boomers and their parents. Pew’s analysis shows that direct federal payments to individuals accounted for 62 percent of federal spending in fiscal year 2014, with about one-third of all spending going toward retirement benefits, mainly Social Security and federal pensions.

David Kimball, a political scientist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said that political pressure to address the national debt and balance the budget has diminished, in part because deficits — while still historically high — have gone down since the annual red ink hit $1 trillion after the Great Recession.

The numbers in Missouri illustrate how federal spending impacts individual states.

According to Pew, which took over the federal spending analysis after the Census Bureau quit doing it in 2012, about 8.3 percent of Missouri’s overall gross domestic product in fiscal year 2014 came from federal retirement benefits and about 6.2 percent of Missouri’s GDP was nonretirement federal benefits, such as Medicare.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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