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As the U.S. economy entered its worst downturn since the Great Depression, Congress enacted legislation to increase discretionary spending to stimulate the economy.

New programs ranged from financial assistance for large banks and car manufacturers to tax rebates for low-income households and also included funding for public projects, such as highway construction.

At its peak, in early 2009, total discretionary spending was about $1.2 trillion in annual terms, or 7 percent of GDP.

St. Louis Fed 2018-08-24

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