The US Government’s Budget Deficit is Now……. 482 Billllllion Dollars!!

At least that is what the White House is predicting it will be for 2009. (My apologies to the NYS lottery for borrowing their tag line).
What exactly is the federal deficit?. In brief, the deficit is the difference between what the government spends and what it takes in from taxes and other revenue sources. The government must borrow money to make up the difference and thus a deficit is born.

Posting a deficit is not new for the United States. As you can see from the graph below, deficits are the norm and surpluses are the exception.

For a brief period in the 1990’s, during the Clinton administration, the deficit was reduced yearly. Then in 1998,for the first time in nearly 30 years, the government posted a surplus rather than a deficit. This trend continued for several years and came to a halt when September 11th occurred.

Clinton enthusiasts blame Bush for squandering the $128 billion dollar surplus he inherited when he took office in January, 2001. Others, however, point out that the budgetary problems were caused by the inadequate defense, intelligence and homeland security budgets in place when George W. took office. After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, all of these budgets had to be greatly supplemented.

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