Budget — Federal

Greenstein: President’s Budget would Expand Opportunity, Help Middle- and Low-Income Families

President Obama is proposing a surprisingly ambitious budget that would make progress — in some cases modest, in others large — in various areas in which policy sclerosis has prevented the nation from addressing significant problems. 

It would expand opportunity, especially for children; reform various programs and tax incentives to make them more effective; and help large numbers of middle- and low-income families while scaling back inefficient tax shelters that mainly benefit those at the top.

 

President’s Sequestration Relief Would Ease Austerity Without Raising Deficits

The President’s budget would provide relief from “sequestration” cuts to non-defense and defense appropriations in 2016 and future years to allow increased funding in areas such as education, scientific research, infrastructure, and national security. 

It would fully offset these restorations by alternate deficit reduction.  These alternate deficit reduction measures would likely be more effective than sequestration in improving the long-term fiscal outlook.

Related: Sequestration and Its Impact on Non-Defense Appropriations

 

Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment Poses Serious Risks

A balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution would be a highly ill-advised way to address the nation’s long-term fiscal problems. It would threaten significant economic harm while raising a host of problems for the operation of Social Security and other vital federal functions.

 

Basics

The federal budget outlines the U.S. government’s spending plans for the coming fiscal year and how it plans to pay for that spending. The three biggest areas of federal spending in 2010 were defense and security, Social Security, and public health insurance programs, each of which made up roughly one-fifth of the budget. Roughly four-fifths of the revenue that the federal government collected to pay for these programs came from individuals, through income and payroll taxes.

Policy Basics:
- Where Do Our Tax Dollars Go?
- Introduction to the Federal Budget Process
- Deficits, Debt, and Interest
- Non-Defense Discretionary Programs

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The Center informs the debate over federal budget priorities by analyzing the President’s budget and major congressional proposals throughout the annual budget process. We pay particular attention to the adequacy of funding for programs that assist low- and moderate-income families. We also analyze long-term budget challenges and measures to address them. In addition, we promote measures to improve fiscal responsibility.

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