Sunday, August 21, 2011

Random charts

Source: Discretionary Spending Under the Budget Control Act of 2011

Discretionary spending is the part of federal spending that lawmakers control through annual appropriation acts. Mandatory spending, in contrast, occurs each year without such legislation; spending for mandatory programs is generally determined by setting the programs’ parameters, such as eligibility rules and benefit formulas, rather than by appropriating specific amounts each year.

Discretionary spending totaled more than $1.3 trillion in 2010, or nearly 40 percent of federal outlays. Just over half of that discretionary spending ($689 billion) was for defense programs, mainly operation and maintenance, military personnel, and procurement. The rest ($660 billion in 2010) paid for an array of nondefense activities. Seven broad budget categories accounted for more than 75 percent of the spending for nondefense discretionary activities last year. The largest of those is the category covering education, training, employment, and social services; it is followed in size by the categories for transportation, income security programs (mostly housing), and health-related research and public health. Categories with smaller amounts of discretionary spending include administration of justice (mostly for law enforcement activities), veterans’ benefits and services (mostly for health care), and international affairs.

Follow the link for an explanation of the caps on discretionary spending (through 2021) established by the recently passed Budget Control Act of 2011.

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