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Kasriel's Parting Thoughts - Recent Federal Budgetary Trends: Facts, Not Opinions

The federal budget deficit reached its widest gap on a 12-month moving total basis in February 2010 at $1.478 trillion. Although remaining at astronomical levels, the budget deficit has been trending lower and stood at $1.246 trillion in March 2012. The year-over-year growth in the 12-month moving total of federal outlays peaked at 19.7% in July 2009. In March 2012, the year-over-year change in the 12-month moving total of federal outlays was minus 1.1%. The median growth in the year-over-year moving total of federal outlays from December 1955 through March 2012 is 6.6%. Starting in March 2010, growth in federal outlays has been below the long-term median. The year-over-year change in the 12-month moving total of federal receipts reached a nadir of minus 17.6% in November 2009. In March 2012, the year-over-year growth in the 12-month moving total of federal receipts was 5.4%. The median growth in the year-over-year 12-month moving total of federal receipts from December 1955 through March 2012 is 7.4%. Starting in September 2011, growth in federal receipts has been below the long-term median. It would appear that what accounts more for the persistence of large federal deficits is weak growth in receipts rather than strong growth in expenditures.

Federal Budget Surplus/Deficit Chart

 


Paul L. Kasriel, post April 30, econtrarian@gmail.com

 

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