worth a read

Worth a read: A great, easy breakdown of Trump’s budget proposal

President Donald Trump laid out his first vision Thursday for what America should spend its money on.

The full thing is 62 pages, so here’s the tl;dr – a $54 billion increase in defense and military spending, plus a little more for a border wall and some dough for school choice programs.

To pay for it and not increase overall spending, the proposal includes cuts to 19 different agencies. The Environmental Protection Agency, State Department, Agriculture Department and Labor Department will take the biggest cuts.

The Washington Post has a pretty incredible, easy-to-read, visual explanation of all the different spending changes, showing how dramatic the increases or cuts are compared to before. Here’s just one example (and they do this for every department).

Credit: Washington Post

This is the best explanation we’ve seen of the budget, with visuals and info showing what the changes would mean.

A couple things to know

One, this isn’t all U.S. government spending. This only covers what’s called “discretionary” spending, which makes up about 29 percent of federal spending, the National Priorities Project explains. So this is money that gets spent on federal programs that are part of the appropriations process – they go through House and Senate subcommittees, and then have to be approved as normal.

The majority of federal spending is called “mandatory.” That takes up nearly 65 percent of the budget, and includes programs like SNAP or Social Security, National Priorities Project says. Lawmakers don’t set how much to spend; instead, they create rules for programs, and then however much the program costs is what the government has to pay. Lawmakers could change the rules to exclude some people, or broaden them to include more.

The second thing to keep in mind: This budget from President Trump isn’t final and decided. It’s simply his proposal for discretionary spending, and will have to be approved by the U.S. House and Congress. They could also make changes and approve something entirely different.

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