The Federal Budget


This white paper is intended to provide quick information on how the federal government goes about spending money, and what it spends it on.

The Federal Budget: A Primer is an introduction to terminology surrounding the federal budget and the federal budget process itself---how the budget is created by Congress and then later spent.

The size of federal spending relative to the size of the economy is summarized in table and graph form for 1940--2003. Trends in the size of various components of federal spending (1962--2003) are presented in table and graph form.

For US military spending, similar information is also presented, along with comparisons to world military spending.

An overview of how the government spent money in 2003 is presented in 2003 Federal Outlays: Summary. Similar numbers are also presented for projected spending in 2004. More detailed numbers, from 1962 to projected spending for 2005, can be found using the data interface in Federal Budget: Detailed Numbers.

Figures are also present for the budgetary cost of the Iraq war, including funding for the conflict, occupation, and reconstruction.