Chart Notes

All spending data for the user-created charts are fiscal year outlays from the president’s FY2018 budget. The data for 2017 are the official estimates.

All data is shown in billions of dollars. Thus if a value on a chart line is 0.050, it is $50 million.

The president’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provides a database of spending on all federal agencies at The charting program aggregates the data by department and subdepartment categories.

The data has been converted to constant (or inflation-adjusted) 2017 dollars using the OMB composite deflator. Therefore, all chart lines show spending after removing the effects of inflation. Other than that, the data has not been altered in any way.

Some chart lines have negative values, which occurs for a number of reasons. One reason is that fees received by some agencies are larger than the spending. A good example is the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Spending may gyrate dramatically in agencies that issue large amounts of loans, such as Federal Student Aid within Education. The gyrations often stem from reestimates of the subsidy values of the loans.

A final note regards restructuring in the executive branch. Note that the chart line for the Department of Homeland Security extends back before the department was created in 2002. That’s because the OMB has revised its historical data to show spending levels as if the department had previously existed based on past spending in the department’s component agencies.

Put your mouse pointer over a chart line to see the data values.

To save a chart image, right click your mouse.

For any questions or comments, email Chris Edwards at cedwards [at] cato [dot] org.

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