The Federal Budget Deficit

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The Federal Budget Deficit Introduction The federal budget deficit is a much discussed and little understood subject in American politics. The current recession has dramatically decreased tax revenues, driving the United States federal government to increase spending in an attempt to stabilize the economy. As a result the current federal deficit is at over $1.3 trillion dollars. This is approximately $47,754 per U.S. citizen or $137,552 per U. S. taxpayer (U.S. Debt Clock: Real Time, 2012). Many contend that deficit reduction is imperative to our prosperity and economic recovery. The deficit is blamed for a variety of economic ills including high interest rates, unemployment, the trade deficit, the low rate of national saving and low productivity growth (Shaviro, 1997). The Causes of the Budget Deficit Many believe the country's dramatic decent into debt began with a choice, not a crisis. In January of 2001, with the budget balanced, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecast that the nation would have over a $2 trillion dollar surplus by 2010, enough money to pay off the entire national debt. In the years following 2001 political leaders chose to cut taxes, increase spending, and wage two wars solely with borrowed funds (Montgomery, 2011). Today the national debt is larger, as a percentage of the economy, than at any time in U.S. history except for the period shortly after World War II. According to a recent Gallup Poll most Americans blame the federal
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