WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN PEOPLE SAY "THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SPENT $2.731 TRILLION-ABOUT 20 PERCENT OF GDP FOR THAT YEAR" MY MAIN QUESTION IS WHAT DOES IT MEAN "20 PERCENT OF GDP"?   WHAT ARE THEY REFERRING TO WHEN THEY SAY THAT?   DO THEY MEAN THE AMOUNT SPENT WAS 20 PERCENT?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What they mean by this is that for every $100 that is produced in our country, the federal government is buying up $20 worth of the production.

The reason why this matters is that it is a measure of how involved the federal government is in our economy.  The higher...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

What they mean by this is that for every $100 that is produced in our country, the federal government is buying up $20 worth of the production.

The reason why this matters is that it is a measure of how involved the federal government is in our economy.  The higher a percent of GDP that the federal government buys up, the more our economy is dependent on the government.  It is also a measure of how big the government is.  Many people worry about the size of government and this is one way to measure how big our government is (especially in comparison to other countries' governments).

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team