Date: March 23, 2012
Creator: Austin, D. Andrew & Levit, Mindy R.
Description: Federal spending is divided into three broad categories: discretionary spending, mandatory spending, and net interest. Federal spending has outrun federal revenues for the last 10 fiscal years. In the long term, projections suggest that if current policies remain unchanged, the United States faces a major fiscal imbalance, largely due to rising health care costs and impending Baby Boomer retirements. Because discretionary spending is a smaller proportion of total federal outlays compared to mandatory spending, some budget experts contend that any significant reductions in federal spending must include cuts in entitlement spending. Other budget and social policy experts contend that cuts in entitlement spending could compromise their goals: the economic security of the elderly and the poor.
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