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U.S. Budget Deal is Imminent; But it is Only a Start

In 2010, the Federal Government brought in revenues of $2.1617 Trillion. In the same year they spent $3.4558 Trillion. That’s a deficit of $1.2941 Trillion in 2010 alone.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, we have run a deficit every year for the last 40, except 1999 and 2000. And our combined surplus during those two years was only $.0883 Trillion.

At our current rate of annual deficit, we are adding more than a billion dollars a year to the national debt.

Now Congress is finishing up a deficit-reduction component to the debt bill that would reduce outlays over the next ten years by slightly less than $1 trillion. That’s about $0.1 trillion per year for the next ten years. In the past 30 years, we’ve only had five years in which we’ve run a deficit lower than $0.1 trillion (1981, and 1988-2001). So we’re talking about a level of deficit reduction that would not make a difference between running a deficit versus running a surplus in most years, and that is unlikely to make an appreciable difference in the future.

For those of you who might be making strategic plans based on the state of the American economy, please bear in mind that even with the deficit-deal that is being voted-on in Congress today, the United States will still be adding over a trillion dollars a year to the national debt.

We are not opposed to the deal – it is a necessary start and every great journey begins with a single step.  But we do hope that Members of Congress will examine their options and take seriously their obligation to provide sound guidance to the American economy (as opposed to merely seeking to bring home the biggest piece of the pie for their own constituents and supporters).  We are happy to see that Congress has agreed to return to the task of budget-cutting before the next election cycle.

This table is in billions of dollars.  The data is obtained from the Congressional Budget Office.  It shows that America’s annual deficit was one-third to one half of a trillion dollars per year immediately before the current financial crisis.  It also shows that the debt of the United States has been steadily rising for forty years.

Revenues Outlays
1971 187.1 210.2
1972 207.3 230.7
1973 230.8 245.7
1974 263.2 269.4
1975 279.1 332.3
1976 298.1 371.8
1977 355.6 409.2
1978 399.6 458.7
1979 463.3 504.0
1980 517.1 590.9
1981 599.3 678.2
1982 617.8 745.7
1983 600.6 808.4
1984 666.4 851.8
1985 734.0 946.3
1986 769.2 990.4
1987 854.3 1,004.0
1988 909.2 1,064.4
1989 991.1 1,143.7
1990 1,032.0 1,253.0
1991 1,055.0 1,324.2
1992 1,091.2 1,381.5
1993 1,154.3 1,409.4
1994 1,258.6 1,461.8
1995 1,351.8 1,515.7
1996 1,453.1 1,560.5
1997 1,579.2 1,601.1
1998 1,721.7 1,652.5
1999 1,827.5 1,701.8
2000 2,025.2 1,789.0
2001 1,991.1 1,862.8
2002 1,853.1 2,010.9
2003 1,782.3 2,159.9
2004 1,880.1 2,292.8
2005 2,153.6 2,472.0
2006 2,406.9 2,655.1
2007 2,568.0 2,728.7
2008 2,524.0 2,982.5
2009 2,105.0 3,517.7
2010 2,161.7 3,455.8
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About Jason Dickstein

Mr. Dickstein is the President of the Washington Aviation Group, a Washington, DC-based aviation law firm. He represents several aviation trade associations, including the Aviation Suppliers Association, the Aircraft Electronics Association, the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association and the Modification and Replacement Parts Association.

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