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Discuss Question 8

8. FISCAL KNOWLEDGE: About 40% of the federal budget is spent on mandatory spending programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, which are essentially on “auto-pilot” and not subject to the yearly budget decision making of Congress.

ANSWER: False – Actually, the Social Insurance Programs, such as Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid, as well as other “Mandatory Spending” federal programs, make up more than half—about 55%—of the total federal budget today, according to the Congressional Budget Office. These programs are largely on “auto pilot”, meaning that they are budgeted for according to automatic formulas written into law, rather than being subject to an annual budget limit and the annual appropriations process in Congress. As a result, after considering interest, which is also mandatory spending, less than 40% of the federal budget is made up of discretionary spending—which are those items actually decided upon by Congress and the President each year. These discretionary programs include Defense, Foreign Policy, Justice, Education, Transportation, and others that Americans typically associate with the role and functions of government. Discretionary spending programs also include all of the express and enumerated responsibilities of the federal government included in the U.S. Constitution.


1 Response » to “Discuss Question 8”

  1. Phillip Finch says:

    About? Define about. By 2016 mandatory spending will be “about” 80% and climbing according to our president’s budget

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