Trade Offs Tool Shows the Magnitude of Federal Budget Spending

by National Priorities Project

With all eyes on our nation’s budget, National Priorities Project (NPP) has overhauled its Trade Offs Tool designed to clarify the magnitude and localized impact of federal spending programs. The tool estimates FY2011 spending for select federal programs for individual states, counties, congressional districts, and towns. It then represents these dollar amounts in terms of localized costs of alternative goods and services such as police, teachers, or care for military veterans.

Proposed Spending for FY2011 Programs Include:

Atomic Energy Defense Activities
Climate Investment Funds
Energy Conservation
Federal Air Marshals
Food and Nutrition Assistance
Iraq and Afghanistan total war spending
National Endowment for the Arts
Net Interest
Unemployment Compensation

For example, in FY2011, Mississippi taxpayers are slated to contribute $414.3 million of their federal taxes to support Unemployment Insurance, $663.4 million to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, $975.5 million to pay net interest on the national debt and $5.1 million toward federal spending on Energy Conservation.

Our nation’s budget is a blueprint for our collective spending priorities. Every dollar spent by the federal government has a localized impact both in terms of taxes paid and services provided. Our Trade Offs Tool shows alternative spending options such as the cost of scholarships or renewable electricity or low-income healthcare to help people grapple both with the meaning and the magnitude of federal spending.

In addition to its Trade Offs Tool, NPP offers other web-based and print tools, publications and trainings to help people better understand their relationship to the federal budget. In addition to the Trade Offs Tool, check out:

•    FY2001 analysis of the President’s budget: NPP’s analysis of the FY2011 federal budget spans FY2008 to projected FY2012. The publication also offers state-level spending programs for health, education and energy.

•    Tax Day 2010: NPP issued its annual spending breakout of a federal tax dollar based on the same budget categories found in our President’s budget analysis. The accompanying web-based Interactive Tax Chart allows individuals to see how their income taxes are distributed across budget spending categories.

Federal Priorities Database

NPP’s one-of-a-kind database contains state and local data for federal spending programs with associated budget category indicators. Categories include: health, education, energy, hunger, housing, labor, income & poverty and military. The database allows users to determine localized federal spending trends, as well as the potential impact of that spending.

Federal Budget 101 charts and briefs: NPP offers briefs on topics such as the federal budget time line, the difference between discretionary and mandatory spending, and the role of federal funds and trust funds in the budget. We also offer several historical charts of budget related information on the discretionary budget, total outlays, revenues, and deficits and debt.

Federal Budget 101 Webinar

This 30-minute presentation is for people interested in learning about the federal budget process and how to become involved in shaping it. By the close of the webinar, participants will have a solid introductory understanding both of the role of the federal government as well as the federal budget process and its timetable. Register for a webinar at a date and time that works for you!  Φ

The National Priorities Project (NPP) is a 501(c)(3) research organization that analyzes and clarifies federal data so that people can understand and influence how their tax dollars are spent. Located in Northampton, MA, since 1983, NPP focuses on the impact of federal spending and other policies at the national, state, congressional district and local levels.

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