While the private sector has added jobs to the economy in every month since March 2010, a total increase of approximately 6.8 million jobs through April 2013, the public sector has contracted. This figure shows the ratio of government employment to the civilian non-institutional population going back to 1980. For the twenty years prior to the Great Recession, this ratio stayed relatively constant, but since then it has dropped precipitously (except for the temporary uptick in 2010 when government employment rose to accommodate demand for U.S. Census workers).
The Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) legislated $500 billion of cuts to the national defense budget over the next ten years—an abrupt change that could weaken the Department of Defense (DoD) if the cuts are not distributed efficiently. However, as this graph demonstrates, sudden and significant changes to defense spending are not new challenges.
Over the next ten years, approximately $4 trillion of deficit reduction are set to take place through the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) and the sequestration, which went into effect on March 1, 2013. This graph, from the introduction of The Hamilton Project’s 15 Ways to Rethink the Federal Budget shows how these policies are projected to affect the debt-to-GDP ratio over the next decade.
Over the past 30 years incarceration in the United States has increased to unprecedented levels, with about 2.25 million Americans held in local jails or in state and federal prisons in 2014.
In 2012 the United States spent more than $265 billion ($845 per person) on criminal justice, including corrections, policing, and judicial expenses. States and local governments shoulder the largest share, totaling $213 billion.
Our criminal justice system is predominantly state based, with states’ policy decisions affecting far more people than federal policy decisions. This complicates the analysis of the U.S. criminal justice system, given that states differ in terms of policy and experience of crime.