ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Understanding The US Government Budget - Mandatory vs. Discretionary Spending

Updated on June 24, 2011

The US Budget

When you turn on the TV these days all you hear is a garble of sound bites. "Cut the deficit!" "Entitlements are ruining the budget!" We are all being blasted from both sides of the political spectrum and it's becoming harder and harder to sort out just what everyone is saying. It's shameful too that voters actually get out and vote without even fully understanding the platforms candidates are running on. That's why we all must study up and learn some of the facts associated with the US Government Budget so that we can all make more informed choices.

Discretionary vs. Mandatory Government Spending

Mandatory Spending

The first thing that must be understood about the budget is that it consists of 2 types of spending. The first category we'll address is called Mandatory spending. This is the type of spending that as the title implies is mandatory. Why is it mandatory? Well, it has been written into law that certain parts of the government must be provided for in the budget every year. Such programs include social security and medicare and medicaid. Social security and medicare and medicaid make up roughly half of the US Government's Budget as of 2010 as they have for the last several years. Another key component of mandatory spending is paying of the country's national debt interest. Currently this accounts for 5% of the of the budget each year. Finally there are also entitlement programs to take into account. The most important being pay for government workers including pensions and insurance. 

Discretionary Spending

This is everything else. Discretionary Spending includes things like the education budget and Military. However, even thought the military is considered discretionary because it is not written into law that the military must be funded, it is however impossible to have a modern nation without  a yearly military budget. Other things such as federal infrastructure projects and other government programs including pork spending attached by congress also fall under this category of spending. 

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • vaguesan profile imageAUTHOR

      vaguesan 

      7 years ago from Osaka, Japan

      Well if you look at this information you can see that actually there is not much anyone can change in the budget. The majority of it is made up of military and mandatory spending. If you cut mandatory spending, you end up with a huge amount of pissed off elderly people who will end up going hungry on the streets. If you drop military spending some will scream that we are sacrificing our military power. There is in reality little that can be touched in the budget. :(

    • trimar7 profile image

      trimar7 

      7 years ago from New York

      Is there such a thing as understanding spending in this government in the past few years?

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)