Federal government’s annual budget assignment

Congress is responsible for creating the federal government’s annual budget. For agencies and their programs to be funded, Congressional authorization committees must pass, and the President must sign, all 12 authorization bills by September 30—the last day of the current fiscal year—so the country can have a new budget in time for the start of the next fiscal year (USA.gov, n.d.).

Access the Government Publishing Office (Links to an external site.) to obtain Historical Budgetary Tables following the steps below:

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  • Click on the link to access the Budget of the United States Government (Links to an external site.)
  • Click on the “Fiscal Year 2018” link
  • Scroll down and select “Historical Tables”
  • Obtain the .xls (Excel) file format of Table 1.1 and Table 1.2 to complete the two requirements below:
    • Table 1.2 shows the budget of Surpluses or Deficits (–) as Percentages of gross domestic product (GDP). Determine how many times since 1950 the budget has shown a surplus and how many times it has shown a deficit using the data in the Total column, “Surplus or Deficit.” Also, identify the 3 years with the highest deficits, and the year with the highest surplus as a as a percentage of GDP. What were the surplus and deficit percentages for these years?
    • Table 1.1 shows the budget Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits (–) from 1789–2022. Identify whether the highest deficits incurred in the identified years from Table 1.2 were paid with tax revenues (receipts) or borrowed funds (outlays). Discuss how the government gets money and where the government spends money on.
  • Click on the “Fiscal Year 2018” link, scroll down and obtain the PDF file for “Major Savings and Reforms” to complete the last requirement. The Major Savings and Reforms volume describes major savings and reform proposals included in the 2018 President’s Budget.
    • Discuss major discretionary budget eliminations. Why is it important that government budgets accurately estimate future revenues during economic downturns?

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