Federal Budget

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Power Vote! An Introduction to Civic Engagement
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  1. How Our Government Works
  2. Federal Budget
  3. The Right to Vote
  4. How to Vote
  5. Presidential Elections
  6. Campaign Finance
  7. Political Parties
  8. Federal Congressional Elections

The Federal Budget is a plan for how the government will spend the American people’s money – to determine which activities are to be funded and how much goes into each of the departments and committees as well as the federal programs. It is also a plan for how the government will pay for its activities and how the government will borrow.

The Federal Budget for the fiscal year of 2008 can be broken down as follows:

Major Steps in the Budget Process (Sample year: February 2008 to November 2010)

2005-06 Budget

President George W Bush submitted a 2.57 trillion dollar 2006 fiscal year budget to Congress. Defense increased by 4.8% to 419 billion, of which 4 million is for research of "bunker buster nuclear weapon" meant to destroy underground targets. This weapon was researched since 2003 but congress denied it any funding in 2005 because of the controversy that it was against the international nonproliferation efforts.

A characteristic is the disinvestment in the Missile Defense (MD) system, and the reinforcement of low intensity warfare such as the war on terror, with an emphasis in strengtheninng special ops equipped with modern mobility-based weaponery. US Army is to reduce its legal forces to 482,400 by 2007, but current forces are approximately 500,000 because of the needs in Iraq and Afghanistan. Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, has suggested the need to legally increase the army to 512,000.

But the new budget does not reflect the war costs in Iraq and Afghanista, estimated to be around 80 billion, nor the new social security system costs.

Main budget items

$ Billion Changes
Defense $ 419.3 + 5%
Transportation $ 57.5 - 1%
Agriculture $ 19.4 - 10%
Veterans $ 33.4 + 3%
Health & Human Services $ 67.2 - 1%
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