May 18, 2009 - Notes and Sources
This publication offers a look at federal budgets spanning 2008 to 2010, including the Obama administration's first budget. Since the values embedded in the budget set the parameters for action while reflecting our nation's approach to the common good, citizens are urged to reconcile the numbers presented here with the President's words.
In order to stabilize the U.S. economy and decrease our reliance on unsustainable sources of energy, the administration identified three main objectives: reduce health care costs, improve education and embrace conservation efforts and renewable energy.
Spending to further these priorities is seen not only in FY2010 but also in FY2009 through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. In 2009, we make initial "down payments" on health care with funds to digitize medical records, on energy to improve our electricity infrastructure with funds for smart grid technology and on education with grants to states struggling to balance their school budgets.
The FY2010 budget moves modestly forward. Additional funds could help fulfill the promise of transformed national priorities. Where can we look for more funds? We should start by examining this report's Income Security & Labor, Health and Military categories. Together, they represent $2.7 trillion in a $3.4 trillion budget.
FY2010 spending for education highlights that it is not only the quantity of spending in any one category that matters but also the quality. Although Education-related spending is down in 2010 relative to fiscal year 2008 (in constant dollars), this is primarily because subsidies to higher education lenders have been eliminated. Part of this money will shift to direct loans so that more students can receive more financial aid. Changes such as these in all categories can only be lauded.
What are perceived to be "small" increases in spending at the national level such as a four percent increase in Environment, Energy & Science from 2008 to 2010 can have a major impact at the state level. For example, Florida will see an increase in funding for weatherization assistance from $2 million in 2008 to $89.7 million in 2010 (in constant dollars).
In the FY2010 budget, President Obama offers us a meaningful and positive step towards new national priorities. It is up to all of us to engage with his administration and our federal and state elected officials so that our voices are part of the national debate at such a critical time for our nation.