Policy Topics I: Federal Budget Policy


Units: 6


Remember that scene in “The Matrix” where Neo finally understands his power?  He is standing in a hallway confronted by three agents.  Instead of seeing the walls of the hallway, and the agents as people, he sees the underlying code running through the walls and the agents. His understanding of the matrix enables him to then manipulate the code to become powerful .In this scene he stops seeing the software constructed world around him and instead sees the code running in the background that creates his reality.

That is the goal of this course.  To empower you to understand the code that runs the federal government, only in this case we are talking about money, not programming languages. When this course is completed, you will understand and look at the government in a fundamentally different way.  You will look at buildings, the people, the programs and see dollar signs running through them. This will enable you to manipulate the code.  In other words, by understanding the budget process, you will be able to build better programs, manage projects, and work with your organization to find resources. In order to bring you to that point, we will learn about how the budget process works, and how an organization obtains and spends money.  Furthermore, you will understand how the money was secured and how it is being spent. The goal is for you to look at government differently, and to start seeing the money, not the façade.

Learning Outcomes


  • Describe and explain the importance of and the interrelationship between the budget management cycle components: (PPBOARA) Planning, Programming, Budgeting, Operations, Accounting, Reporting, Auditing
  • Explain the legal and constitutional basis for the current budget development process.
  • Describe and explain the budget development process from idea to implementation.
  • Explain and demonstrate understanding of an Executive Branch budget
  • Explain and demonstrate understanding of the legislative budget process.
  • Explain and put into context important current national budget issues
  • Explain the concepts and apply the ideas behind GPRA.


Prerequisites Description

There are no course prerequisites for this course.