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* All budgets contain $99.03 Billion in spending to keep the government operating & pay interest on the national debt. Any extra money you do not spend will be used to reduce annual borrowing.

1. Revenue

2. Social Security, Medicare &

3. Military

4. Education

5. Health

6. Science, Energy,
Environment & Agriculture

7. Income Security

8. Law Enforcement

9. International Affairs

10. Investment in Local Jobs &

11. Your idea for a better budget

As we mentioned at the start of "Build a Better Budget" the options from which you chose were based on proposals that are actually out there and already part of the public debate. But you may have other suggestions. We welcome your ideas - add them right here:


Includes all taxes collected from individuals and corporations. Changes made here will have an impact on the total amount you have to spend on all the other categories on the right. Learn more »

There are a broad range of valid revenue proposals beyond those presented here, including taxing Wall Street transactions, closing additional corporate loopholes, adding a carbon tax, and changing the estate tax.

NOTE: Without a massive overhaul of the federal budget, there is no way to eliminate the deficit in a single year, so a certain amount of borrowing is inevitable in each of the four options. Participants whose budgets result in an overall reduction in the deficit will see the amount of borrowing reduced.

Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid

Includes much of the major “Entitlement" spending, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Does not include other health care proposals contained in the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). While not part of the discretionary budget that Congress appropriates each year, we're including these programs in the game because most long-term budget plans, including several we've presented as options here, make major changes to these programs. Learn more »


Includes spending on all branches of the military, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some parts of Homeland Security, and veterans' benefits. Learn more about the long term options for military spending. »


Includes all federal spending on schools, teachers and school-related programs like Head Start, free lunches and more. Learn more »


Includes all spending on healthcare not covered by Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security Disability Insurance – including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA, also known as “Obamacare"). Learn more »

There are a broad range of valid health care reform proposals beyond those presented here, including a single-payer “Medicare for All" system. And like single-payer, adoption of one of these options would have a significant long-term budgetary impact on both the "Health" and “Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid" categories. If you support another option, tell Congress why on the last page.

Science, Energy, Environment & Agriculture

Includes much of federal investment in green energy and technology, the Environmental Protection Agenc and other projects that protect the environment. Learn more »

Income Security

Includes the safety net programs that help the poor and those hit by disasters (economic and otherwise). These include unemployment insurance, food stamps, nutrition programs for women, infants and children, and more. Learn more »

Law Enforcement

All federal support for local police, court officers, FBI and terrorism collaboration and much of Homeland Security. Learn more »

International Affairs

Includes funding for the U.N., USAID, famine relief, and the State Department. Learn more »

Investment in Local Jobs & Communities

Includes spending on community block grants, worker training programs, local infrastructure and development projects. Learn more »
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