Wednesday, October 22, 2003

If you go to the Treasury Department website, you'll see that satisfaction about the deficit being "only" 375 billion is probably overblown. Ignoring the fact that the on-budget deficit was actually 535 billion or that the trust fund surplus of 160 billion does not really cover the actuarial commitments. Instead take note of the following numbers (in billions):

Fiscal year/ Average Monthly Expenditures/ September/ Next Month
2001/ 155.3/ 123.1/ 164.8
2002/ 167.6/ 150.3/ 178.6
2003/ 179.7/ 165.3/ ???

(Sorry, I can't get the formatting right.)
It's clear that financial management of the deficit is occurring with end of year expenditures curtailed and pushed into the new fiscal year. My prediction for the October, 2003 expenditure number is between 190 and 195 billion starting out the new fiscal year with a likely deficit exceeding 60 billion in the first month alone. In case you were wondering, this kind of financial management appears to be unique to the Bush Administration. Not quite Enron accounting, but in the same spirit.


Thursday, October 09, 2003

Courtesy of The Note, I was pointed to an article in the Christian Science Monitor featuring an interview with Josh Bolten. He predicted that the deficit would be better than the 455 billion originally predicted . This is an easy call since the Treasury Department has already calculated the deficit through 11 months as "only" 400.5 billion and September almost always has a surplus of receipts over outlays. He credits it with a revenue trend that began in July, but it appears to be all associated with outlay reductions in June and July which presumably will also be realized in September. You can make your own predictions. Historical reports are also available.


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