Episode 30: Follow the money to understand Washington

To really understand Washington, you need to understand the basics of the federal budget.

Just a few years ago, it was a big deal when the president unveiled his spending proposal, but “budget day” this week was kind of a snore.

That may be because President Barack Obama’s $3.9 trillion proposal for fiscal year 2015, which begins Oct. 1, isn’t likely to have much impact. Why? Lawmakers last December passed a two-year spending plan.

Still, the annual ritual does highlight the president’s vision for the coming year – and for the coming election. It’s already providing fodder for Democrats and Republicans gearing up for the campaign trail.

But to understand just about any argument or issue in Washington, you really need to understand the basics of the federal budget.

Problem is, most of us don’t. So, we’ve gone back to the DecodeDC archives to bring you this encore podcast from April 2013 that breaks down the numbers and tries to show what exactly we are spending our money on. The episode features an interview with Jess Bachman, the guy behind an unbelievably detailed chart showing exactly how your tax money is divided among government agencies.

And this podcast note. We are getting ready to relaunch DecodeDC. In addition to the podcasts, which will be weekly, we are building a daily, multimedia DecodeDC blog for all Scripps properties – and for a national audience. So over the coming weeks, we’ll be reposting some of our favorite and smartest podcasts while we build the team and our new online space.

Loading Next Story