Federal Budget Deficit
|November 14, 2004||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Report on the Federal Deficit
Concord Coalition’s Quarterly Deficit Report
Here’s a new statement from the Concord Coalition concerning the latest truth about the federal budget deficit.
Fiscal Discipline Still Needed in Washington
It is now all but certain that the federal government will run a unified budget surplus in fiscal year 1998. Official reports released in May indicate that the surplus will be in the range of $43 billion to $63 billion.
If these forecasts prove true, the federal government will take in more than it spends for the first time since 1969. Achieving a unified budget surplus would be a significant economic and political accomplishment. But it would not be an excuse to abandon fiscal discipline.
Two factors support this conclusion. First, projections of unified budget surpluses for the next several years assume continued borrowing in excess of $100 billion annually from the Social Security trust fund. So long as this practice continues, the gross national debt will go up even as the President and Congress take credit for a balanced budget.
Second, our nation’s greatest fiscal challenge-marshalling the resources to afford the retirement and health care costs of the 76 million member baby boom generation-has not been met. Abandoning fiscal discipline in the face of this challenge would be a wasted opportunity to plan ahead by increasing national savings, investment, and productivity.
This is the context in which the President and Congress are now considering how best to use prospective unified budget surpluses. In this Quarterly Deficit Report, the Concord Coalition evaluates the leading options under discussion.
Our National Debt: $5.5 trillion
Budget Deficit, FY 1997: $22 billion
Budget Deficit Excluding Social Security, FY 1997: $103 billion
Total Federal Borrowing, FY 1997: $188 billion
Estimated Unified Budget Surplus, FY 1998: $43 billion to $63 billion
Estimated Budget Deficit Excluding Social Security, FY 1998: $36 billion to $56 billion
Estimated Federal Borrowing, FY 1998: $98 billion to $153 billion
Family of Four Share of the National Debt: $81,600
Ratio of Federal Benefits Going To Those Over 65 to Those Under 18: 9:1
Entitlement Spending as a Percentage of the Total Federal Budget: 50.5%
Number of Americans Turning 65 in 1997: 458,000
Projected Number of Americans Turning 65 in 2022: 1,663,000
Life Expectancy at Age 65, 1935: 12 years
Life Expectancy at Age 65, 1995: 17 years
Life Expectancy at Age 65, 2035: 19 years
Number of baby boomers in the U.S. House of Representatives: 217 (50%) Number of baby boomers in the U.S. Senate: 25 (25%)
1997 Trustees’ projection of 2030 Social Security cash deficit: $214 billion (in constant 1997 dollars)
1998 Trustees’ projection of 2030 Social Security cash deficit: $234 billion (in constant 1997 dollars)
Foreign Holdings as Percentage of Publicly-Held Federal Debt, Average 1980-94: 16.5%
Foreign Holdings as Percentage of Publicly-Held Federal Debt, 1997: 34.0%
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