Budget Aneurysm

In mid 2008, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under President Bush estimated a $400B total deficit for fiscal year 2008, ending in Sept. 2008, and a deficit of $450B for the 2009 fiscal year.

In Dec. 2008, after the financial implosion of Sept. 2008, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the total deficit would be about $1T. In Jan. 2009, before the new President was sworn in, the CBO revised their deficit projections upward to $1.2T, or 8.9% of GDP.

The 2009 fiscal year just ended Sept. 30th and the CBO announced this week that the actual deficit numbers will probably come in at $1.4T, or 9.9% of GDP. For a historical look at the budget numbers since 1968, click on Historical Budget Data at the CBO site. There you will see trends, like the defense spending trend shown in Table F-8. Although President Bush has been vilified by some for his military spending, he has spent less than his Dad did, and about 2/3 as much as President Reagan on defense as a percentage of GDP.

Since this data is in spreadsheet form, you can play with it. In dollars, personal income tax revenues almost doubled and Social Security taxes more than doubled during Reagan’s tenure. What were income tax revenues as a percentage of GDP? Go to the table with GDP figures, copy those figures into the table with income tax revenues and run a column of percentages. Bet you never had this much fun since you and Lindy Lou went to the lake in high school.

Can’t sleep at night because you are wondering what the size of the total public debt is? No problem. The Treasury updates the public debt daily.

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