What is the Federal Budget

The federal budget is a representation of our national priorities, and includes a plan to allocate federal resources – largely through taxes collected from individuals and businesses – to pay for those priorities.

The amount the government plans to spend on road construction, Social Security and food safety inspection, for example, are all found in each year’s budget.

The budget also includes details about how the money to pay for these priorities is to be raised – estimates of how much revenue from various taxes, fees, and borrowed money are all found in the budget.

However, the budget is not a single document, and it does not have the force of law on its own. Rather, the formulation of the federal budget involves proposals and counter-proposals between the president, and the two houses of Congress, which ultimately results in a series of laws funding federal agencies and programs, and specifying the means of funding. The process of putting together the federal budget is largely an exercise where each party and the president identify their priorities for the upcoming year.

The federal budget is the basic blueprint for the overall operation of the government and it is essential to the functions of federal agencies and programs. Without funding, government agencies cannot carry out their duties.

The federal budget is more than just a bunch of numbers; it is a roadmap for the nation. The decisions that go into creating the budget affect each and every one of us. As such, it is important for every American to understand the budget. This is even more so as mounting national debt becomes more of an issue.

Understand the budget and related issues can be difficult since there is a great deal of jargon involved with the budget and all the numbers can be difficult to keep track of. The process of creating the budget is also confusing and hard to make sense of.  


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