Budget Basics Archive

The United States spent $631 billion on national defense during fiscal year (FY) 2018 according to the Office of Management and Budget, which amounts to 15 percent of the federal budget.
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.
There is one cap for national defense and another cap for non-defense programs.
Tax expenditures can come in the form of exclusions, exemptions, deductions, and credits.
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 fairness of our federal tax system is a hotly debated issue. Too often, however, those debates confuse or misrepresent important facts because they focus on one type of tax in isolation rather than the various taxes that people face in aggregate.
Although the need for serious, long-term changes to the funding structure of the Highway Trust Fund is clear, there is disagreement over the approach to do so.
Jun 26, 2018
Capitol Building
PAYGO is a budget enforcement mechanism intended to prevent passage of legislation that increases deficits.

Ten Year Report

A decade of work addressing America's fiscal challenges to secure a healthy, growing economy.


This series of infographics helps put some of today's most pressing fiscal debates in context.