Annual Report


Editors’ Letter

Dear Fellow Americans, Welcome to the Annual Report of the United States of America. ARUSA is dedicated to explaining and analyzing the federal budget and proposing sustainable fiscal solutions. We hope you use this tool to first learn about the challenges facing American spending policy and then engage your fellow citizens and legislators to enact [...]


The United States Income Statement

This year, Americans watched as the national debt rose to $14.7 trillion, nearly matching the GDP. A tumultuous Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011 to raise the debt ceiling on the condition that the federal government decreases future spending. Despite the last-minute compromise, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the US credit ranking from an [...]


Welfare in a Recession

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) is perhaps the defining bipartisan moment of the Clinton Administration. President Clinton promised it would “end welfare as we know it,” and he touted its success ten years later, declaring that it created “a new beginning for millions of Americans.” Not since FDR’s New [...]


The Bank Bailout in Perspective

Was the despised but ultimately profitable TARP program a success?


The Social Security Taboo

First called the “third rail” of American politics by Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil in 1981, Social Security remains one of the most divisive programs in our budget. Add the fact that it is the single largest expenditure by the federal government, and its sheer size prevents Washington from reaching reform or compromise year [...]


Lions and Tigers and Government Shutdowns! Oh My!

The recent debt-ceiling crisis was more contentious than a Texas football game, as Democrats and Republicans rejected each others’ budget cut proposals. But this rivalry characterizes the current partisan political season. In April, the US prepared for a potential government shutdown while Democrats and Republicans struggled up until the last moment to agree on a [...]