Chuck Norris

The Congressional Budget Office just reported that in the past two years since President Barack Obama took office, federal spending is up 21.4 percent.

The national deficit was $1.29 trillion in 2010 (second to the $1.4 trillion in Obama's first year in office, 2009), which means that for every $1 the federal government spent this past year, it borrowed 37 cents of it!

The feds will tell you that their outrageous spending habits were necessary to pull our economy out of its recession. But would their same rationale justify the fact that the money Congress spends on itself has soared 89 percent over the past decade, more than three times the U.S. inflation rate?

It's true. In 2000, the feds spent $2.87 billion to run Capitol Hill. In fiscal year 2010, they almost doubled the amount, to an enormous $5.42 billion. From 2000-10, while inflation went up 26 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Capitol expenses went up 89 percent.

Were all those expenditures necessary to pull the economy out of a recession, too? Will the Obama administration again blame former President George W. Bush for its contemptible spending habits in its first two years?

According to Capitol News Connection and the congressional watchdog groups Sunlight Foundation and LegiStorm, here are just some of the itemized personnel costs of your legislative branch of government, including their comparative increases from 2000:

--Congress members' salaries and benefits: $126 million, up 23.5 percent.

--Expense allowances for Senate leaders: $180,000, up 99 percent.

--Senate officers: $178.98 million, up 99 percent.

--House leadership offices: $25.88 million, up 82 percent.

--Other House officers: $198.30 million, up 120 percent.

--Senators' personal offices: $422 million, up 75 percent.

--Representatives' personal offices: $660 million, up 62 percent.

--Architect of the Capitol salaries: $106.78 million, up 118 percent.

--Capitol Police salaries: $265.18 million, up 237 percent.

--Capitol Police general expenses: $63.13 million, up 860 percent.

Other items:

--Senate inquiries and investigations: $140.5 million, up 96 percent.

--Capitol grounds upkeep: $10.97 million, up 102 percent.

--Capitol building maintenance: $33.18 million (not listed separately in 2000).

--Senate office buildings: $74.39 million, up 16 percent.

--House office buildings: $100.46 million, up 169 percent.

--Capitol Visitor Center: $22.45 million (didn't exist in 2000).

--Congressional Budget Office: $45.16 million, up 72 percent.

--Government Accountability Office: $556.84 million, up 47 percent.

Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris is a columnist and impossible to kill.