Analytical Perspectives on the Budget: FY 2016


For those not familiar with it the Analytical Perspectives is a companion to the President’s Annual Budget and is a massive compilation of Tables and Figures and explanatory material on all aspects of the economy and of government operations as they pertain to the Budget. And since all such aspects do pertain the Analytical Perspectives offers a comprehensive counterpose to similar (though generally less comprehensive) publications including various Annual Reports of government agencies (cough, cough ** Social Security Administration ** cough) and of CBO Budget Outlook and other publications. For example it allows side by side comparisons of such things as unemployment and GDP projections.

The Analytical Perspectives also serve as a textbook on Government Financial Reporting and so explains why interest payments on say the Social Security Trust Fund are not counted as “outlays”. As defined. In the handy Glossary. It doesn’t make for easy reading but is valuable for all that. Or because of all that. For many of us will come out of a reading understanding that much of our “common sense” “knowledge” of what budget terms HAVE to mean (because we speak English or even Financial Accounting) do not necessarily have the same connotations or even denotations.

For example “deficit”. Anyway I am going to try to re-read the sections on Social Security and examine the contrasting economic projections as compared to those found in the Social Security Reports and corresponding CBO publications. Because the Government does NOT speak with one voice on these matters.

As time allows I will try to break out some Tables into files that can be imported into Excel and other spreadsheet programs. It should be noted that these will still be Tables and not computed Spreadsheets, i.e. no embedded formulae. Still THERE WILL BE NUMBERS. Lots of ’em. Good computing everyone.