What’s the biggest single job the federal government undertakes?
National defense? Nope.
Homeland security? Wrong.
Transportation? Not even close.
Law enforcement? No way.
Education? Getting colder.
Nope, the biggest single thing the federal government does these days is ... cut checks.
Lots and lots and lots and lots of checks that go to individual citizens — $2.3 trillion worth last year alone.
In fact, according to a table buried deep inside the little-noticed Historical Tables volume of the White House’s 2012 budget, these “direct payments to individuals” accounted for more than two-thirds of federal spending in 2010. That’s a post-war high.
80% salaries and benefits...always.