Superseded by April, 2004 entry.
I have found that one of the most useful ways of looking at the government's role in society is by examining how much the government spends as a relation to the economy, measured most often by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For the United States, we calculate this on either or both the national and state/local levels using Table 1.1 and Tables 3.1 through 3.3 in the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA) published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Here is the historical information, which I will use as a basis for some subsequent posts. Federal subsidies for state/local programs (e.g. block grants for welfare programs) are counted as spending at the federal level.
Here is the underlying Excel file.
I will try to update this file as the data is released.
Note: Currently, my calculations run off of current receipts and current expenditures. I'm thinking about changing this so that my calculations run off of the total receipts and total expenditures figure, which includes government investment. This would allow us to compare like-to-like among countries.