Non-defense spending would rise a percentage point less than inflation and so decline slightly in "real" terms from 1980 to 1981 under the Carter budget.
But not all domestic programs are dealt with in the same way. President Carter proposed clear expansion of some, offset by reduction in others.
The president proposed cuts in the school lunch and milk programs and in impact aid to school districts serving children of federal employes. The cuts would leave those programs intact for needy children, but would reduce subsidies for others.
Presidents have been taking money for these programs out of the budget for years; Congress always has put it back.
There are sizable increases in the budget, meanwhile for housing and medical care for the poor. Carter would authorize 300,000 new housing units for poor people. One virtue of this, from a budgetary standpoint, is that the full cost will not show up until future years. The president also included funds for an expansion of Medicaid to give more care to needy children: a bill authorizing this is pending in Congress.
There is also startup money for welfare overhaul in the budget, on the assumption the Senate will approve it this year, as the House did last year.
There is no money for the president's national health insurance program, which is pending in Congress but is at least two years away from approval. It's first-year cost then will be more $20 billion, the budget estimates.
Carter would cut federal aid to medical schools next fiscal year, a small budget item but a big issue in the medical profession.
He included in the budget funds to start up his new youth training program.
One of the broad categories in the budget is that of federal aid to state and local governments. It embraces programs from Medicaid and welfare grants to highways and sewer money.
This federal aid now makes up about a fourth of state and local government budgets and about a seventh of the federal government's own spending.
Carter proposed increasing these assorted forms of aid from this year's $89.9 billion to $96. 3 billion. That would lift them 8.4 percent less than the rate of inflation. In this sense, state and local governments would be losers under the Carter plan, but whether they would lose enough to complain much to Congress is not clear.
Most of the large domestic programs in the budget -- the check-writing programs like Social Security, welfare and unemployment compensation and the so-called "in-kind" aid programs like Medicare and food stamps -- are tied in one way or another by law to the inflation rate. Their funding rises automatically; the president has little discretion over them.
Last year Carter asked Congress to give him more discretion to cut some of these programs back a little, Congress refused, for the most part, and this year Carter renewed his request only in the area of disability benefits, where a bill is already moving toward passage.
Actually, these big "entitlement" programs will rise more than inflation next year, partly because of population growth and partly because of the expected recession. Recessions increase outlays for unemployment insurance (they are expected to rise $3.1 billion next year to $18.8 billion) and food stamps (though likely to rise $1 billion to $9.7 billion; the stamp program is also tied by law to food prices).
This increased the budgetary pressure on the remaining discretionary domestic programs: they are where Carter did his cutting to hold down domestic spending.
Here is what Carter proposed in some other areas where he does have discretion:
For veterans' compensation for service-connected disabilities, which doesn't have an automatic cost-of living trigger, the president said he'd ask for a 13 percent benefit increase. And he mentioned a 10 percent increase request for the GI Bill and more veterans' medical facilities.
In the transportation area, requested increases are modest, less than the inflation rate, from $19.6 billion to $20.2 billion. But there is a a major new initiative to increase urban public transportation with 6,000 new buses and 250 new subway cars, which will substantially boost outlays in future years.
In housing, aside from the increase in subsidized units for the poor, outlays for Community Development Block Grants will rise from $3.5 billion to $3.8 billion. There also will be increases in outlays for Urban Development Action Grants, though the basic requested program authority for UDAG will remain at $675 million.
To help make up the loss to farmers of export sales because of the partial grain embargo against the Soviet Union, the president plans to spend $2 billion in fiscal 1980, the current year and $800 million in fiscal 1981. The $2 billion for fiscal 1980 will be sought in a supplemental appropriation, because action on the regular budget for fiscal 1980 is completed.
The president has requested freezing the number of public service jobs at 450,000, the same at 1980. About 250,000 of these would be for poor people who lack skills and need training and on-the-job experience. The other 200,000 jobs would be for workers unemployed because of lags in the economy.
To squeeze out money to pay for some of the health services, the administration would virtually wipe out money for nursing education, cut money to help medical schools educate doctors and require "belt-tightening" at the National Institutes of Health (up only 5.5 percent less than inflation, with the Cancer Institute up only 2.2 percent).
One program for which a large increase -- 62 percent -- has been requested is the National Health Service Corps. which would be able to provide 4,500 doctors at centers in "under-doctored" areas.
In science, White House science adviser Frank Press said. "We are tilting toward basic research" One big increase in the budget is the requested $1.9 billion for the space shuttle, more than $800 million over the figure that was forecast a year ago for this year's needs. Officials conceded this is quite an overrun.
The space agency won two new programs in the president's budget. One is a spacecraft observatory to study the high energy gamma rays that pour off pulsars and quasars, the other an Earth orbiting satellite it would develop with the Pentagon and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to monitor the world's seas.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration lost two programs it had hoped to win. One was a mission to rendezvous with Hailey's Comet in 1986, the other a spacecraft to orbit Venus with a large radar antenna to peer through the planet's sulfuric acid clouds and map its mysterious surface. The space agency is thinking of resubmitting both missions next year.
Spending on research and development by all agencies of the government would go up 13.1 percent -- from $32.1 billion to $36.1 billion.