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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The $10 Trillion Man?

by Calculated Risk on 3/12/2008 02:34:00 PM

Several years ago I predicted that the National Debt would reach $10 trillion by the time President Bush left office. For a short period (thanks to the housing bubble), it looked like the deficit would be less than I projected.

Now that the housing bust is hitting government revenues, it looks like the $10 trillion projection will be close.

From MarketWatch: Budget deficit widens to [February] record $175.6 billion

The federal government deficit widened to a record $175.6 billion in February, in part because of the economic slowdown and in part because of the extra day in February this year that allowed the government to send out more tax refunds and more benefit checks, the Treasury Department reported Wednesday.
The current National debt is $9.397 trillion (see TreasuryDirect) as of March 10, 2008. That leaves the debt about $603 billion short of my projection with only 10.5 months to go. It will be close!

It is important to understand that the White House and CBO project the "unified budget deficit", not the General Fund deficit. Bush is responsible for the General Fund, and it's the General Fund deficit with some adjustments that will hit the National Debt. From MarketWatch:
For the entire year, the White House expects a budget deficit of $410 billion. The CBO expects a deficit of $396 billion.
Add about $200 billion to get the Bush General Fund deficit.