The Hutchins Center Explains: Public investment | Brookings Institution

"Public spending can be divided into consumption and investment. Consumption spending goes for goods and services that produce benefits today, such as health care for the elderly or mowing the lawn on the Washington Mall. Investment is spending that will provide benefits in the future, such as scientific research or building a new highway or better educating children. While conceptually simple, the distinction between government consumption spending and investment spending is, as the White House Office of Management and Budget puts it, “a matter of judgment.”"