Federal Budget Resources
There is a vast landscape of websites related to the federal budget deficit. In order not to reinvent the wheel, we describe here some sites that may be useful as references or complements to Widescope.
- The fundamentals
- For learning the basics about the federal budget, the National Priorities Project has a publication called Federal Budget 101 that is short and understandable, yet captures the essentials for understanding the federal budget. The most relevant sections to creating a Widescope budget may be the description of revenues and expenses, but they also describe the federal budget process and the impact on debt and deficit. Another one of their publications, Defining the FY2012 Budget Debate, does a great job at succinctly capturing the two camps in the budget debate. They do this by summarizing and discussing the differences between two budgets championed by conservative and liberal politicians, as well as relating them to President Obama's budget.
- In-depth study
For a more rigorous understanding, one of the best sources is the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which is a federal agency in the legislative branch of the US Government. Their primary responsibility is to provide economic data to the Congress; this includes detailed budget projections and analysis of how various policies will affect the federal deficit. In particular, they have compiled a list of budget options that can be implemented. These options are a great resource for building a Widescope budget since they describe specific policies along with their quantitative impact on the federal deficit.
Another excellent source is the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which is an independent, non-partison think tank. Besides their publications, they have also started several important initiatives, including the US Budget Watch, which tracks the positions taken by politicians as related to the federal budget. They also have produced a Deficit Reduction Plan Comparison Tool and a Budget Simulator.
- Complete budgets
There are a small number of complete budget proposals made by politicians or think tanks that may be useful as references in designing a budget. Some of the budgets proposed by politicians include:
There are also six complete budgets created by think tanks through The Peterson Foundation's Solutions Initiative. These include two conservative think tanks (American Enterprise Institute and The Heritage Foundation), two liberal think tanks (The Economic Policy Institute and The Center for American Progress), one bipartisan think tank (The Bipartisan Policy Center), and a student run liberal think tank (The Roosevelt Institute Campus Network).
- The President's Budget for FY2013 is the yearly budget proposal that President Obama is required to submit.
- The Path to Prosperity is a conservative leaning proposal produced by the House Committee on the Budget, which was chaired by Representative Paul Ryan.
- The People's Budget is a liberal leaning proposal produced by the Congressional Progressive Caucus and was coauthored by Representative Raùl Grijalva.