For some of the charts, users of Firefox and other non-Internet Explorer web browsers might have to use the “open link target in IE” option or equivalent.  I will work to correct this difficulty in the next revision.

The following sections show national government spending for the “Big 5” items (Social Security, defense, net interest, Medicare, and Medicaid) and selected other components of the national government budget in the following details:

(1) Outlays in current and constant (2002) dollars 1940 to estimated 2008;
(2) Year-by-year changes in outlays in constant (2002) dollars and, in most instances, as percent of outlays and as percent of mandatory or discretionary outlays (the division of national government outlays into “mandatory” and “discretionary” categories began with the 1962 budget year; discretionary spending is that part of the budget controlled through yearly appropriation bills of president and Congress); and
(3) changes in outlays by presidential term, 1940 to estimated 2004.

The current-dollar (non-inflation-adjusted) data for most of these tables are drawn from Budget of the United States Historical Tables, which is available here. (Data from the 2010 Budget are available here and will be used in revising these graphs.) The Congressional Budget Office Budget and Economic Outlook also will be used, available at the CBO web site.