Department of Commerce

Department of Commerce Spending in Billions of Constant 2014 Dollars

The Department of Commerce is home to important institutions such as the Census Bureau and the Patent and Trademark Office. It is also home to unneeded programs that subsidize businesses and fund local development projects. In addition, the department administers misguided foreign trade policies aimed at boosting exports and restricting imports.

The department will spend about $8 billion in 2014, or about $65 for every U.S. household. It employs 39,000 workers and has more than 250 offices worldwide.


Spending Cuts Summary
Downsize This!
  • Economic Development Administration. This agency provides subsidies to state and local governments for activities that are not proper federal responsibilities.
  • International Trade Administration. While trade is important to the U.S. economy, the ITA’s activities can distort trade and lead to political favoritism and corruption.
  • Business Subsidies. A number of the department’s programs subsidize business activities, which creates an unfair burden on taxpayers.


"The statesman, who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it."

Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, 1776