2004 Budget Deficit: $725B, or 40% of spending

That’s right: this year, the US government will only pay for 60% of what it’s spending.

It will borrow the other 40%.

It’s all in this massive PDF file, on page 22 of the historical tables.

Although I’ve revised the numbers in one small respect: as widely reported in the papers over the past few days, we’ll need another $50B or so to keep troops stationed in Iraq. Bush hasn’t asked for it in his budget. So I’m assuming $50B of spending on top of what’s in the budget.

That bumps the budget deficit from $675B to $725B, and total outlays from $1939B to $1989B.

Even the worst of the Reagan-Bush I deficits never underfunded the government by 40%.


I am sorry is there something you wish to debate here besides you posting misleading data?

Isn’t the 2005 budget $2.4T with a deficit of $364B? That would be 15%. I still don’t like it, but I don’t understand your numbers.

OK, you’re looking at ON BUDGET numbers for 2004. Why did you choose to ignore the OFF BUDGET column? I believe that most people use the TOTAL numbers (NO + OFF BUDGET) when talking about “the budget”.

2004 Total: Receipts: 2.32T Defecit: 521B (22%)

FYI, 1983 Deficit was 25%.

Your numbers are simply wrong, and don’t even agree with your cite. The numbers are:

2004 Total receipts 1,798,093
2004 Total outlays 2,318,834
2004 Deficit 520,741

If you add on the extra 50 bn, you get 570,741 / 2,368,834 = 24%.

But look at the numbers for 1983:

1983 Total receipts 600,562
1983 Total outlays 808,364
1983 Deficit 207,802

207,802 / 808,364 = 26%.

Shoulda previewed, shouldn’t I. I didn’t mean that you were wrong, John. I was referring to the OP.

And I screwed up on my last post.

“2004 Total Receipts” shoudl be “2004 Total Outlays”.

Of course if you want the numbers to look bad, you might say that in 2004 we spent $521B more than we took in, $1.80T making the defecit 29% of receipts.

Can’t say I consider the exclusion of Social Security to be in any way dishonest. AFAIAC, those are the real numbers; including Social Security masks the true size of the deficits.

Huh? are you claiming we don’t spend money on Social Security? If not how can you not honestly include it in spending?

Why? SS acounts for 20% of all federal spending. Why would you exclude that from an analsys? Since it is not common practice to do so, I think you need to offer some justification beyond a simple statement that you think it makes sense. It also might get more people to post in this thread…

Nobody objects to the “off-budget” dodge? That’s real money too, and it comes from the same sources. But whether it’s 24% or 40% or something else, using long-term borrowing to pay operating costs with no breakeven point in sight is a sure way for a business to go bankrupt - or a government. What’s the debate?

At least the White House isn’t referring to a deficit being “manageable” now (having not even started to manage it).

You would exclude SS from the analysis for the simple reason that SS, Medicare, highways, airports, and maybe some other things I’m not thinking of are all financed by their own dedicated taxes. The general budget is financed out of taxes that are dedicated to the general budget: personal and corporate income taxes, customs duties, etc. Therefore, the only true way to analzye the deficit is to figure what the taxes that would actually reduce the deficit are in relation to the expenses that are financed by those taxes. SS will go into deficit at some point after 2010, and at that point RTFirefly’s analysis will minimize the deficit rather than the opposite. In either event, the SS surplus is irrelevant to the general budget deficit for the purposes of analyzing how to reduce said deficit.
If you were talking about the current account deficit, you would want to include the SS surplus, since it’s a part of national savings. But to this issue, it’s irrelevant.