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Budget generally refers to a list of all planned expenses. A budget is an important concept in microeconomics, which uses a budget line to illustrate the trade-offs between two or more goods.

The budget of a government is a summary or plan of the intended expenditures of that government. In the United States, the federal budget is mainly prepared by Congress. (see budget process)

The balancing of the national budget has become important as a popular campaign promise among American politicians in recent years. Talk of a Balanced Budget Amendment began in the 1970s but has never been carried to fruition. Economists argue about the costs and benefits of deficit spending. Most argue that a Balanced Budger Amendment would unnecessarily tie the hands of the government, especially its efforts to fight severe recessions. Since the 1980s, Republican Party Presidents (Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush) have been more likely to engage in deficit spending, while the Democrat Bill Clinton ran a government surplus for several years. This is a strange role-reversal in that the Republicans had long been the party of "fiscal sanity."

As an adjective, budget means that something is low-priced so that people who are spending their money carefully, being on a tight budget, can buy the item instead of a more expensive form of the item. One example would be the car rentalal firm known as "Budget Rent-A-Car". Budget items, aside from being of less luxurious quality, are often reduced in packaging (or in design features that display social prestige rather than utilitarian function) in order to cut costs.

See also: pruning

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