Saturday, 06 September, 2003
Everybody's screaming about the proposed budget, with a projected deficit of $480 billion. That's a helluva lot of money, no doubt, representing almost 17% of the total expected outlays of $2.7 trillion. Historically, it's a little on the high side, but not totally out of line. In the last 20 years, we've seen deficits as high as 25% (1983) and surpluses as 13% (2000). The more telling number, I think, is the percentage of Gross Domestic Product that this deficit represents. By that measure, the projected 4.7% for fiscal year 2004 is the same as the 1992 budget. Again, it's a little on the high side for the historical average, but hardly unmanageable. All the screaming and crying by Democrats in Congress (and in the race for the Presidential nomination) is just a bunch of political hoo-ha.
That said, I still find it unconscionable that our government can't be a little more responsible when it comes to spending money. Rather than plan for the lean times by saving surpluses, all branches of government increase spending whenever possible, and go deeper into debt when income doesn't meet projected outlays.