What would happen if the Government recieved too much money?

Seriously, stop laughing.

Now assuming that some earnest young Congressman did not quickly find a use for it, what would happen, if after a particularly good year the US government paid for everything in the budget, cleared all of its debts, interest included, and found a coupl’a million left over?
Or would they have to spend it? Is there some bank account for the USA that the money could go into? Would it just sit in neat pile in the treasury somewhere? Has this, an unclaimed surplus, ever happened before?

It would sit in a surplus fund which has happened in the past. The money would go into next year’s pot.

For many years the state of Alaska had a state surplus due to oil revenues. Every year the residents of Alaska got a check in the mail instead of paying taxes.


The slightly absurd apportionment of funds in the UK actually encourages waste on some occasions. If an authority or other public body finds itself underbudget, it’ll take every action possible to use up the cash, even if it could go to use elsewhere. Why? Because if they end up underbudget, the treasury is likely to cut their budget for the following year, when it might actually be needed. I could see a similar thing happening if there was a general surplus; public bodies falling over themselves to justify budget increases (or at least prevent cuts) by spending hand over fist.

The hand-over-fist spending happens in the US too…in particular I’m thinking about the state university where I work. If we don’t spend the money in our accounts, it’s gone to the big account in the sky. Who spends it at that point, I don’t know. And we risk getting the budget cut for the next year.

It already gets too much money from each and every one of my paychecks.

Look for a book called Reinventing Government, cant recall the author. i read it a few years back and this was a central issue.

several smaller municipalities are dealing with budget surpluses in a good way (IMHO). instead of losing unspent money or getting a budget cut in the next year they are allowed to roll it over. this allowed one towns recreation/parks dept to build an amazing public pool by saving a little bit of the budget over several years rather than using a big chunk in one year.