After 2 1/2 years of budget battles, this is what the federal government looks like now:
It is on pace, this year, to spend $3.455 trillion.
That figure is down from 2010 - the year that worries about government spending helped bring on a tea party uprising, a Republican takeover in the House and then a series of ulcer-causing showdowns in Congress.
But it is not down by that much. Back then, the government spent a whopping $3.457 trillion.
Measured another way - not in dollars, but in people - the government has about 4.1 million employees today, military and civilian. That's more than the populations of 24 states.
Back in 2010, it had 4.3 million employees.
Today another budget fight looms. If Republicans and Democrats can't agree on spending levels by Oct. 1, there could be a government shutdown. Followed, perhaps, by a national credit default.
That will be showdown number seven. To assess what the first six accomplished, The Washington Post tried to measure the government in four different dimensions: federal expenditures, federal workers, federal rules and federal real estate.
The first two were down, slightly. The third was way up. And in the fourth case, the government itself wasn't sure what happened.
In every category there was evidence that - even as politicians made some headway in reducing the budget - they could not shake many of the old habits that made government big in the first place. They allowed duplication to live. They let "temporary" giveaways turn permanent. And they yielded to inertia, declining to revisit expensive old decisions.
The result was that Congress often passed up "smart cuts" in favor of dumb ones - taking broad hacks at the budget, instead of pruning away what was unnecessary.
"For all the brave talk, one single fact has trumped all this great rhetoric. Most of the people who came in saying, 'We're going to change Washington,' simply didn't understand Washington," said Steve Bell, a longtime Republican staffer who now works at the Bipartisan Policy Center.
Bell's point is that today's politicians do not understand the political forces that produce and then protect inefficient programs. Or the difficulty of changing the social-benefit programs - such as Medicare and Social Security - that spend the bulk of Washington's money.
"That kind of hard-edged budget work ... is just too complicated. And just too politically incendiary, for this town to do," Bell said. "That's why this town hasn't done it."
The reduction in federal spending since 2010 is still something historic. Any reduction in spending would have been, after a decades-long spending binge that peaked in the first years of President Obama's term.
This year, the government's spending is projected to be down by about 5 percent from 2010, accounting for inflation.
But even now, the government still spends a vast amount of money.
This year's projected spending will be more than in any year of the George W. Bush administration. And more than 30 percent higher (accounting for inflation) than the last year of President Clinton's term.
It is still so big primarily because Congress and Obama have largely failed to deal with programs such as Medicare, Social Security and food stamps.
These "mandatory spending" programs are very large, accounting for about 60 percent of federal spending. Congress doesn't set their spending every year. Instead, when need goes up, spending goes up. And, in the recession, need went up.
Even after six paralyzing budget showdowns, this "mandatory" spending has fallen by less than 1 percent. By contrast, spending on "discretionary" expenses - the smaller pot of money that Congress does control every year - has fallen by 14 percent. That reduction is partially due to the winding-down of a stimulus and two wars, as well as to "sequestration" and other budget cuts imposed since 2010.
"We're nowhere. I mean, the sad reality is that we're nowhere" toward taming those "mandatory" costs, said Gordon Adams, a budget official in the Clinton administration and now a fellow at the Stimson Center.
And now, in a capital burned by six crises, a deal to cut these big-ticket programs seems less likely than ever. "We've gotten further away from anything that will bring us to a 'grand bargain' right now," Adams said.
But it is not only the big cuts that Congress has struggled with. It has also found it hard to break several little bad habits that made government fat in the first place. One is pork, the habit of using taxpayer money for a legislator's pet cause.
Today, its power appears to be stronger even than death.
That's clear from the story of the Robert C. Byrd Highway, a decades-old road project in West Virginia that had received earmarked funds for years from Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., the longest-serving senator in history, who died in 2010.
The highway has been maligned as a wasteful road to nowhere. But, now, it has outlived earmarks. It has even outlived Byrd.
This year, with continued support from Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., the highway got $40 million in federal money. It will need about that much every year, state officials say, until it's finished in 2035.
Congress has also indulged in the habit of letting "temporary" giveaways become effectively permanent. A prime example is the Essential Air Service, a $240 million program that subsidizes flights to 161 small airports.
It was supposed to die in 1988. It didn't.
Congress has renewed the program, again and again. Now it subsidizes flights to places such as tiny Glendive, Mont., where the government pays for a 19-seat aircraft to visit twice a day.
On average, two people get on each day. The subsidy works out to $836 for each of their tickets.