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President Bush Releases $2.9 Trillion Budget

President Bush releases a $2.9 trillion budget plan for the fiscal year beginning in October, promising to balance the nation's annual books by 2012. The latest plan includes a quarter of a trillion dollars for Iraq and Afghanistan over the next 20 months. But it seeks savings just about everywhere else.

About 52 percent of the budget would go to mandatory programs, entitlements that the federal government has committed itself to in previous budgets. The figure includes about $600 billion for Social Security; another $600 billion or so on Medicare and Medicaid; and $300 billion for similar federal programs.

Another 8 percent of the budget is also spoken for: $260 billion in debt service, or paying back money the government borrowed to cover the deficit.

Taken together, those expenses leave 40 percent for spending that's considered discretionary. Of that portion, most goes to the Pentagon and other security programs.

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David Greene
David Greene is an award-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author. He is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, the most listened-to radio news program in the United States, and also of NPR's popular morning news podcast, Up First.
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