Federal Budget

from the Department of Education and Public Programs, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

One of the most important documents produced each year by the President and Congress is the federal budget. Through a lengthy process, government leaders determine how much money they expect the government to receive during each of the next several years, where it will come from, and how much to spend to reach their goals in areas such as national defense, foreign affairs, social insurance for the elderly, health insurance for the elderly and poor, law enforcement, education, transportation, science and technology.

The President and Congress decide how much spending they will finance through taxes, and debate how to use the budget to help the economy grow or to redistribute income. More recently, they have been debating how large a deficit the government needs to run in order to stimulate our distressed economy. In this overview, we will discuss these decisions in some detail--that is, how the government raises revenues and where it spends money.