Expenditures in the United States federal budget
The United States federal budget contains a number of expenditures, which include mandatory programs such as the Medicare and Social Security programs, military spending, and discretionary funding for Cabinet Departments (e.g., United States Department of Justice) and agencies (e.g., Securities & Exchange Commission).During FY2014, the federal government spent $3.504 trillion on a budget or cash basis, up $50 billion or 1% vs. FY2013 spending of $3.455 trillion. Major categories of FY 2014 spending included: Social Security ($845B or 24% of spending), Healthcare such as Medicare and Medicaid ($831B or 24%), Defense Department ($596B or 17%), non-defense discretionary spending used to run federal Departments and Agencies ($583B or 17%), other mandatory programs such as food stamps and unemployment compensation ($420B or 12%) and interest ($229B or 6.5%).Expenditures are classified as mandatory, with payments required by specific laws, or discretionary, with payment amounts renewed annually as part of the budget process. Expenditures averaged 20.4% GDP over the past 40 years, generally ranging +/-2% GDP from that level. The 2014 spend was 20.3% GDP, versus 2013 spend of 20.8% GDP and a recent 2009 peak of 24.4% GDP.CBO projects that spending for Social Security, Healthcare programs and interest costs will rise relative to GDP over the 2015-2025 period, while defense and other discretionary spending will decline relative to GDP.Over the past 40 years, mandatory spending for programs such as Medicare and Social Security has grown as a share of the budget and relative to GDP, while other discretionary categories have declined. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security grew from 4.3% of GDP in 1971 to 10.1% of GDP in 2012.In the long-run, expenditures related to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are growing considerably faster than the economy overall as the population matures. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that Social Security spending will rise from 4.8% of GDP in 2009 to 6.2% of GDP by 2035, where it will stabilize. However, CBO expects Medicare and Medicaid to continue growing, rising from 5.3% GDP in 2009 to 10.0% in 2035 and 19.0% by 2082. CBO has indicated healthcare spending per beneficiary is the primary long-term fiscal challenge. Further, multiple government and private sources have indicated the overall expenditure path is unsustainable.