Saturday, September 13, 2008

Deficit Update

The federal deficit will be over $400 billion for fiscal year 2008, according to the Congressional Budget Office:
CBO estimates that the deficit for 2008 will be $407 billion, substantially higher than last year’s $161 billion. As a share of the economy, the deficit is projected to rise to 2.9 percent of GDP this year, up from 1.2 percent of GDP in 2007. That 1.7 percentage point increase as a share of GDP is roughly evenly split between a 0.9 percentage point decline in revenue relative to GDP (reflecting the impact of lower corporate tax revenue and the rebates enacted as part of stimulus legislation this year) and a 0.8 percentage point increase in spending relative to GDP.
As a share of GDP, that is not as bad as the Reagan-era deficits (which peaked at 6% of GDP in 1983).

Including the $184 billion borrowing from the social security trust fund (i.e. the "on-budget" deficit), the 2008 deficit is $592 billion, or 4.2% of GDP.

Of course, that's a significant deterioration from the picture eight years ago - remember when we thought the problem would be what to do with all those surpluses? What happened?

Comparing the CBO's most recent forecast for 2009 with the one it made in January 2001, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities made this breakdown: According to the CBPP, the total deterioration of the fiscal picture is $1.256 trillion; the chart is based on the parts due to tax and spending policy ($1 trillion), and doesn't include the $256 billion due to the economic slowdown. (Hat tip: Ezra Klein).

Al Gore's "lockbox" is looking pretty good right now...

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