Budget Basics Archive

The economy goes through cyclical movements over time, with periods of growth followed by downturns. To help improve responsiveness to fluctuations in the business cycle, a number of important programs in the federal budget automatically increase or restrain spending depending on economic conditions.
Most working Americans are subject to payroll taxes, which are usually deducted automatically from an employee’s paycheck. Employers are also often subject to these types of taxes.
Unemployment insurance (UI) is a joint state-federal program that was established in 1935 to provide temporary financial assistance to workers who become unemployed by no fault of their own.
Public schools for students in kindergarten through 12th grade are financed through a combination of local, state, and federal dollars in proportions that vary across and within states.
This budget explainer describes what Medicaid is, how it is financed, and who benefits from it.
Federal trust funds bear little resemblance to their private-sector counterparts.
Medicare is an essential health insurance program serving millions of Americans, and a major part of the federal budget and our fiscal outlook.
Social Security is the largest single program in the federal budget and makes up approximately one quarter of total federal spending.
The United States spent $754 billion on national defense during fiscal year (FY) 2021 according to the Office of Management and Budget, which amounted to 11 percent of federal spending.
Medicaid’s role in state budgets is unique, since the program acts as both an expenditure and the largest source of federal support in state budgets.

Expert Views: Inflation, Interest & the National Debt

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National Debt Clock

See the latest numbers and learn more about the causes of our high and rising debt.