Nondefense discretionary spending includes many programs that could promote future economic growth
February 02, 2015

Discretionary spending covers some of the federal government’s major activities, such as defense, and homeland security, education, transportation, research, food safety, science and space programs, disaster assistance, environmental protection, federal law enforcement and the courts, and a host of other priorities.

Some programs in this category of the budget can promote long-term growth. For instance, this category includes programs that make investments in education, research and development, and infrastructure. Those activities offer the promise of long-term dividends by creating a better-trained, more highly skilled work force, laying the ground work for growth-enhancing innovation, and improving the U.S. business climate.

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Related Charts:

Social Security, Health Care, and Defense Spending 1965-2010
2012 Discretionary Spending Breakdown
R&D and Interest Costs
Composition of Spending 1965-2010

Peter G. Peterson Foundation Chart Pack:

The PGPF chart pack illustrates that budget-making involves many competing priorities, limited resources, and complex issues. In this set of charts, we aim to frame the financial condition and fiscal outlook of the U.S. government within a broad economic, political, and demographic context.
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