In researching this question: " Where did all this deficit come from? " - I stumbled on the fact that "Other" spending catgory was the 4th largest spending increase in 2009-2012 period compared to 2008.

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NOTE: the figures are NOT total spending, but how much that year's spending increased compared with 2008

What exactly is this spending category? Why is that spending so high and what contributed most to it?

2 Answers 2


OK, I have extracted the spending data from http://www.usgovernmentspending.com into a spreadsheet, and here's what I came up with:

1) "Other" category of spending contains the following sub-categories (I have only included those that have non-zero federal spending):

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunti
Basic research
Community development
Economic affairs n.e.c.
Fuel and energy
General economic, commercial and labour
Housing development
Pollution abatement
Protection of biodiversity and landscape
Recreational and sporting services
Water supply

2) Here are the figures for "Other" Federal spending, 2002-2012.

I have sorted by overall averages and included 2002-2008 and 2009-2012 averages.

I have highlighted as yellow those elements that are >30% off from overall average. I have highlighted as pink those elements that are >30% off from cohort (4-year)average.

As you can seem the largest components are Agriculture, Community Development, Basic Research, ad Housing Development (which jumped from #4 in a decade to #1 since 2009, due to assorted housing market subsidies etc...).

An additional spike was Economic affairs in 2009, most likely due to TARP spending, but that did NOT affect the averages too much (only 50% growth) since most of TARP was repaid in 2010/2011.

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According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priority, the Other category includes everything not accounted for in the other categories. This includes:

Benefits for federal retirees and veterans: This subcategory combines the veterans' benefits and services function (700) and the federal employee retirement and disability subfunction (602, which is part of the income security function).

Transportation: This subcategory consists of the entire transportation function (400).

Education: The education subcategory combines three subfunctions of the education, training, employment, and social services function: elementary, secondary, and vocational education; higher education; and research and general educational aids (subfunctions 501, 502, and 503 respectively).

Scientific and medical research: This subcategory consists of the general science, space, and technology function (250), and the health research and training subfunction (552).

Non-security international: This subcategory consists of the international affairs function (150) except for international security assistance, which is included with defense, above.

All other: This subcategory consists of all other federal expenditures.

Unfortunately, the White House OBM isn't as easy to search as I would like, so it is difficult to find out hwy that category increased so much. I suspect that since the largest chunk of it in 2011 (7% of total budget) was Benefits for federal retirees and veterans, that is most likely the cause.

  • 1
    I think I may have figured it out as for why. Will post once I win the all-in bare knuckle fight with my Excel over conditional formatting.
    – user4012
    Feb 28, 2013 at 15:03

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