The History of U.S. Government Spending, Revenue, and Debt (1790-2015)

Source: Max Galka, Metrocosm, 2016

Through most of its history, the federal government did not have the power to tax incomes. How was it funded before the income tax? Today’s national debt is big by historical standards, but it has been bigger. When was the country’s deepest debt, and how long did it take to pay back? From the time it was founded until relatively recently, the U.S. government consistently spent about 3% of GDP each year. Today, the government spends roughly 20% of GDP per year. Where is all that extra money going? A look through the history of U.S. government finances reveals some surprising facts. Scroll down to see how U.S. taxes, spending, and debt have evolved from 1790 to today….