Budget Options

Periodically, CBO produces reference volumes examining options for reducing budget deficits. The volumes include a wide range of options, derived from many sources, for reducing spending and increasing revenues. (Occasionally, the volumes focus on specific areas of the budget, as do many of CBO’s other reports.) For each option, CBO presents an estimate of its effects on the budget and a discussion of its pros and cons but makes no recommendations.

A Budget Options search allows users to search for options by major budget category, budget function, topic, and date. The online search is updated regularly to include only the most recent version of budget options from various CBO reports.

Fair-Value Estimates of the Cost of Federal Credit Programs

The federal government supports some private activities by providing credit assistance to individuals and businesses. CBO estimates the lifetime costs that are projected to be incurred by those federal credit programs, showing two kinds of estimates: estimates that were created by following procedures prescribed by the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990 (FCRA), most of which were produced by other agencies; and estimates newly produced by CBO that account for the market value of the government’s obligations, which are called fair-value estimates. A primer about how CBO produces fair-value estimates explains how differences between the FCRA and fair-value approaches affect estimates of the cost of federal credit programs.

Troubled Asset Relief Program

The Congress established the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in 2008 to stabilize financial markets. CBO regularly provides its estimate of the costs of the program and a comparison of that estimate to the preceding estimate from the Administration’s Office of Management and Budget.