Budget Update

Controlling Discretionary Spending

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Over the past decade, discretionary spending has grown faster than mandatory. Between 1999 and 2008 discretionary spending grew annually, on average, by 7.5 percent – from less than $570 billion to over $1.1 trillion. Although the CBO baseline makes it appear as if discretionary spending will grow only modestly, more realistic assumptions tell a different story. Just holding discretionary spending growth to inflation would be a positive step. In the 1990s, it was these types of caps, along with pay-as-you-go rules, strong economic growth, slower-than-usual health care cost growth, and a commitment to deficit reduction that led to budget surpluses.

A Closer Look at the President's FY 2010 Budget Process Reform Proposals

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This paper examines the Obama administration budget reform proposals and evaluates how (and if) they would improve the budget process and restore fiscal responsibility. In particular, the paper examines the administration’s proposed changes to the calculation of the budget baseline and its reintroduction of a statutory pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) framework.

Analysis of the President's FY2010 Budget

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Recently, the White House released its comprehensive FY2010 budget request, including detailed proposals for each agency, along with “Analytical Perspectives,” a description of all proposed spending cuts and program eliminations, and an updated set of summary tables. Also released was the Treasury Department’s “Green Book,” which compiles all tax proposals within the budget. This paper analyses those documents.

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