Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Budget: Missing Money

by Calculated Risk on 8/17/2006 06:39:00 PM

Professor Chinn posts today: Are we winning the war against the budget deficit? Here is the August CBO report that he references: The Budget and Economic Outlook: An Update

I've posted many times on the difference between the Unified Budget and the General Fund (CBO lists as on-budget) Budget. Now for something different.

Long time readers know I like to track the annual increase in the National Debt. This is usually slightly larger than the General Fund deficit. As an example, for fiscal 2005:

Increase National Debt: $547 Billion.

General Fund deficit: $493 Billion.
This is a typical gap ($54 Billion) between the two measures. However, for fiscal 2006:

Increase in National Debt to date: $551 Billion (1.5 months to go until fiscal year end).

CBO projected General Fund deficit: $437 Billion.
The non-Social Security off-budget expenditures have increased dramatically this year. My guess is the gap will be close to $160 Billion by the end of the fiscal year. Perhaps this is due to expenditure related to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that might be off-budget. Or maybe this is a little Enron-style creative accounting.

I don't know. But I'd like to know.