U.S. spends lavishly, but not in Central Valley

The U.S. government spent $2.56 trillion domestically in 2007, but relatively few federal funds ended up in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

While Washington spent an average of $8,475 per person nationwide, Merced, Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Tuolumne counties were shorted on a per capita basis, a report released today shows.

Of the federal dollars that were spent locally in 2007, most went to individuals for retirement and medical benefits and to low-income residents for food stamps, housing and unemployment assistance.

The federal government employed relatively few people here and bought comparatively little of our region's products.

Example: About 10 percent of the government's budget nationwide was spent on salaries and wages, but only 3 percent of the federal funds spent locally went to jobs.

More than 17 percent of what was spent nationally went toward procurement. Such purchases made up only 3 percent of local federal spending.

Nearly 71 percent of what was spent locally went to individuals for retirement, disability and other direct payments, including Social Security, veterans and unemployment benefits, Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps. Nationwide, such payments accounted for less than 54 percent of federal spending.

Some parts of the United States benefited much more from federal dollars in 2007.

Per person federal spending in Virginia was $14,277, which was twice as much as California. Alaska, $13,721, and Maryland, $12,569, also fared well on a per person basis.