Federal Spending – Fast Facts

All fast facts for federal spending are from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Although they represent many of their most recent reports on this subject, they do not represent all of their reports on this subject. Occasionally minor word adjustments may have been made for clarity or to reflect the updated nature of the statement.   As always, verify and view statements in their full context as often as possible.

The Federal fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on the subsequent September 30.  The Federal fiscal year is designated by the year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2010 began on October 1, 2009, and ended on September 30, 2010.  Verify at Page 3
Budget receipts constitute the income side of the budget; they are composed almost entirely of taxes or other compulsory payments to the Government.  Verify at Page 3
The budget surplus refers to any excess of budget receipts over budget outlays, while the budget deficit refers to any excess of budget outlays over budget receipts.  Verify at Page 3
The budget is divided between two fund groups, Federal funds and trust funds.  Verify at Page 3
The Federal funds group includes all receipts and outlays not specified by law as being trust funds.  All Federal funds are on-budget except for the Postal Service fund, which is shown as off-budget starting in 1972.  Verify at Page 3
 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the sum of all income earned in the domestic production of goods and services.  In 2011, it totaled $15.0 trillion.  Verify here
All trust funds are on-budget, except the two Social Security retirement and disability trust funds, which are shown off-budget for all years.  Verify at Page 3-4
In the Federal budget, the term “trust fund” means only that the law requires the funds be accounted for separately and used only for specified purposes and that the account in which the funds are deposited is designated as a trust fund.  Verify at Pages 3-4
The largest trust funds are for retirement and social insurance (e.g., civil service and military retirement, Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment benefits).  They are financed largely by social insurance taxes and contributions and payments from the general fund (the main component of Federal funds).  Verify at Page 4
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