Average American now Says Government Wastes 51 Cents out of Every Dollar


Gallup has been polling Americans since 1979 regarding how much out of every dollar they think the government wastes. Answers have always varied widely, but when the question was first asked in 1979, the average American said the federal government wastes about 40 cents of every dollar.

Over the years, this assessment of waste has increased steadily, and last fall (October 2014), the average American responded that the federal government wastes a majority of the money it gets–51 cents out of every dollar.

Remember, this is the average response. Eighteen percent of Americans say they think the federal government wastes 76 cents OR MORE out of every dollar it gets.

Gallup has separated state from federal spending in the question. The average American is slightly more respectful of the spending habits of their state government. On average, Americans say their state governments waste 42 cents of every dollar.