Thursday, April 12, 2007

Federal Debt Trends

The Skeptical Optimist has a new chart out showing the Federal tax receipt trends versus the Federal spending trends over the last 12 months. The 12 month deficit is $203.7 billion, which sounds like a big number, unless you take into account that it is only 1.4% of GDP.

Over the same period, Federal Tax Receipts are up 10.6%, and federal spending is up 4.4%, so if the trends continue, the Federal budget would move into balance in August of 2008, just in time for the election. Steve thinks it unlikely, however, due to a dampening of corporate tax receipts (around 15% of tax receipts right now) in particular. He thinks it more likely that the budget balance will be achieved in early 2009.

I'll note for the record he thinks deficits are a good thing, if kept within a certain range as a percentage of GDP; I would agree with him if I thought the deficit funds were or would be spent on worthwhile pursuits (particularly security related stuff), which I do not believe happens in most cases. I do agree the deficit spending is not the bogeyman most people make it out to be.

I'm a firm believer that the less money the government takes from me, the better off we all are as a nation and accomplishing excellent things like growing the economy make everyone better off - and on that score (a growing economy is a good thing) Steve and I are in perfect agreement.

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