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Weak Individual Tax Revenue, High Medicare Bills Hit U.S. Government Results

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The U.S. federal government posted solid growth in payroll tax revenue and customs duties in 2019, but soaring defense and health care spending, and soft individual tax and estate tax revenue, pummeled earnings.

The federal government posted a loss of $1 trillion for 2019 on $3.5 trillion in revenue, compared with a loss of $779 billion for 2018 on $4.1 trillion in revenue.

Overall U.S. gross domestic product, or national income, increased 4.7%, to more than $21 trillion.

Federal government revenue increased 4.3%. Federal government spending increased 9%.

Officials at the federal Office of Management and Budget, an arm of the White House, posted those results in connection with the release of President Donald Trump’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2021.


  • Links to documents related to the 2021 budget proposal are available here.
  • A link to an earlier article about USA earnings is available here.

Fiscal year 2019 ended Sept. 30, 2019.

Fiscal year 2021 starts Oct. 1.

The U.S. government is a large social insurance provider with a major military operation and significant activities in many other areas, such as transportation, education and broadcasting.


Here’s what happened to some key types of federal government revenue between 2018 and 2019:

  • Federal Reserve System earnings: $49 billion (down 31%)
  • Estate and gift taxes: $17 billion (down 26%)
  • Individual income taxes: $1.7 trillion (up 2.1%)
  • Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes: $1.2 trillion (up 6.8%)
  • Customs duties: $82 billion (up 100%)


Here’s what happened to some key types of federal government spending:

  • Medicaid: $406 billion (up 4.4%)
  • Social Security: $1 trillion (up 5.7%)
  • Non-defense “discretionary programs”: $678 billion (up 6.1%)
  • Defense: $680 billion (up 9.1%)
  • Medicare: $644 billion (up 11%)
  • Affordable Care Act public exchange program: $57 billion (up 24%)

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