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The United States' Budget

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The budget of the United States is a document that announces how much the government will collect in taxes and spend in revenues and how those expenditures will be allocated among various programs. The basic jist of it is how much money the government is going to spend and where it is going to spend it. There are three major areas the government spends this money: the country’s defense, Medicare, and social security. These are called uncontrollable expenditures because they involve contracts already signed, payments like social security that are guaranteed by law, and interest on the national debt that must be paid if the government is to stay in business.

The budget was started in 1921. At this time both the president and congress had pretty much any say in where the money was spent and how much. Much has changed since then.

The Congressional budget Act of 1974 changed this somewhat. The president submits his budget in January. Then budget committees in both the house and senate study the presidents proposal and submit to its house what is called a total budget ceiling and a ceiling for each of several spending areas. By ceiling they mean the top amount they are going to spend on each category. In May the congress adopts these budget resolutions as targets or guides in deciding what to spend in each area. Then a new modified budget is supposed to “reconcile” the first bill with appropriate amounts to be spent.

After the government tried this for a few years the budge...


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