Editorial April 11, 2014

TheWeekinCongress.com

Editorial

“…deficits are more common than surpluses with only 12 fiscal years since 1940 when we were in surplus.”

It’s budget time again and déjà vu all over again as we look towards the gathering storm around which budgets get passed. Last year we had a Senate budget the House could not stomach and a House budget the Senate ignored and we were headed towards another government shutdown over the debt limit. That was because the Parties were too divided to come close to a compromise.

But, with taxpayer disgust reaching meteoric levels, especially after the recent government shutdown, we saw a sensible compromise worked out between House Budget Chair, Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Chair, Patty Murray (D-WA) and we entered the year-end holidays with some hope that the bitter partisan freeze was thawing. More so we knew that the Ryan-Murray budget would take us through the end of FY 2014 in October and guide us sensibly into a FY 2015 Budget. The two year budget concept was a wise idea after gun shy legislators supported the deal as a solution to the fallout from the standoff; risking the US credit rating and shutting down the government, neither of which sat well with the populous.

As of yesterday that is where we were. Today things changed. With the passage of Ryan’s FY 2015 budget we are returned to the stoic position House Republicans have taken insisting on extreme cuts from social programs but benefits for big business and the wealthy as they did in their FY 2014 budget that led to the Ryan-Murray budget deal.

The Ryan Budget passed the House this week and has no future in the Senate. As Murray concluded, there is not much interest amount Senate Democrats to replay recent history and her Committee and the Senate appropriators are looking towards the budget deal numbers to fund the government next year. Reportedly, the House appropriators are also writing to the budget deal numbers.

It’s an odd position Ryan has taken; last year his budget was so effectively trounced it is curious he is returning again with essentially the same budget. Curious because it contrasts with his willingness to agree to compromises that gave us the current budget deal. Freeing us from a destructive standoff seems to be a thing of the past.

Ryan’s budget typifies a concern with government spending keeping us in debt. A logical concern that we first saw in 1990 when the debt rose during President Reagan to about $200 billion. The rhetoric back then is the same now; we are leaving a debt for our children and grand children pay off. A central point in arguments for Ryan’s budget is to reduce spending to the point we have a budget surplus. Of course, we had a surplus in 2000 that took eight years for President Clinton and the Speaker Newt Gingrich to accomplish. We went into 2000 with a surplus that was easily spent to a nearly $1 trillion deficit also in 8 years. As the data on federal deficits and surpluses reflects in the next column, deficits are more common than surpluses with only 12 fiscal years since 1940 when we were in surplus yet, somehow the Republic survived. ##

Federal Budget Deficits and Surpluses

(1940 to Present)

In 75 years of budget data the US was in surplus only 12 times.

Year Nominal Dollars Inflation Adjusted
1940 $2.9 Billion Deficit $48.33 Billion Deficit
1941 $4.9 Billion Deficit $77.78 Billion Deficit
1942 $20.5 Billion Deficit $292.86 Billion Deficit
1943 $54.6 Billion Deficit $737.84 Billion Deficit
1944 $47.6 Billion Deficit $634.67 Billion Deficit
1945 $47.6 Billion Deficit $618.18 Billion Deficit
1946 $15.9 Billion Deficit $191.57 Billion Deficit
1947 $4 Billion Surplus $42.11 Billion Surplus
1948 $11.8 Billion Surplus $114.56 Billion Surplus
1949 $0.6 Billion Surplus $5.88 Billion Surplus
1950 $3.1 Billion Deficit $30.1 Billion Deficit
1951 $6.1 Billion Surplus $54.95 Billion Surplus
1952 $1.5 Billion Deficit $13.27 Billion Deficit
1953 $6.5 Billion Deficit $57.02 Billion Deficit
1954 $1.2 Billion Deficit $10.43 Billion Deficit
1955 $3 Billion Deficit $26.09 Billion Deficit
1956 $3.9 Billion Surplus $33.62 Billion Surplus
1957 $3.4 Billion Surplus $28.33 Billion Surplus
1958 $2.8 Billion Deficit $22.58 Billion Deficit
1959 $12.8 Billion Deficit $103.23 Billion Deficit
1960 $0.3 Billion Surplus $2.36 Billion Surplus
1961 $3.3 Billion Deficit $25.78 Billion Deficit
1962 $7.1 Billion Deficit $55.04 Billion Deficit
1963 $4.8 Billion Deficit $36.64 Billion Deficit
1964 $5.9 Billion Deficit $44.36 Billion Deficit
1965 $1.4 Billion Deficit $10.37 Billion Deficit
1966 $3.7 Billion Deficit $26.62 Billion Deficit
1967 $8.6 Billion Deficit $60.14 Billion Deficit
1968 $25.2 Billion Deficit $169.13 Billion Deficit
1969 $3.2 Billion Surplus $20.38 Billion Surplus
1970 $2.8 Billion Deficit $16.87 Billion Deficit
1971 $23 Billion Deficit $132.95 Billion Deficit
1972 $23.4 Billion Deficit $130.73 Billion Deficit
1973 $14.9 Billion Deficit $78.42 Billion Deficit
1974 $6.1 Billion Deficit $28.91 Billion Deficit
1975 $53.2 Billion Deficit $231.3 Billion Deficit
1976 $73.7 Billion Deficit $303.29 Billion Deficit
1977 $53.7 Billion Deficit $207.34 Billion Deficit
1978 $59.2 Billion Deficit $212.19 Billion Deficit
1979 $40.7 Billion Deficit $130.87 Billion Deficit
1980 $73.8 Billion Deficit $209.66 Billion Deficit
1981 $79 Billion Deficit $203.08 Billion Deficit
1982 $128 Billion Deficit $309.93 Billion Deficit
1983 $207.8 Billion Deficit $487.79 Billion Deficit
1984 $185.4 Billion Deficit $417.57 Billion Deficit
1985 $212.3 Billion Deficit $461.52 Billion Deficit
1986 $221.2 Billion Deficit $471.64 Billion Deficit
1987 $149.7 Billion Deficit $308.02 Billion Deficit
1988 $155.2 Billion Deficit $306.72 Billion Deficit
1989 $152.5 Billion Deficit $287.74 Billion Deficit
1990 $221.2 Billion Deficit $395.71 Billion Deficit
1991 $269.3 Billion Deficit $461.92 Billion Deficit
1992 $290.4 Billion Deficit $484 Billion Deficit
1993 $255.1 Billion Deficit $412.78 Billion Deficit
1994 $203.2 Billion Deficit $320.5 Billion Deficit
1995 $164 Billion Deficit $251.53 Billion Deficit
1996 $107.5 Billion Deficit $160.21 Billion Deficit
1997 $22 Billion Deficit $32.07 Billion Deficit
1998 $69.2 Billion Surplus $99.28 Billion Surplus
1999 $125.6 Billion Surplus $176.16 Billion Surplus
2000 $236.4 Billion Surplus $320.76 Billion Surplus
2001 $127.3 Billion Surplus $168.16 Billion Surplus
2002 $157.8 Billion Deficit $205.2 Billion Deficit
2003 $377.6 Billion Deficit $479.8 Billion Deficit
2004 $413 Billion Deficit $511.14 Billion Deficit
2005 $318 Billion Deficit $380.84 Billion Deficit
2006 $248 Billion Deficit $287.7 Billion Deficit
2007 $161 Billion Deficit $181.51 Billion Deficit
2008 $459 Billion Deficit $498.37 Billion Deficit
2009 $1413 Billion Deficit $1539.22 Billion Deficit
2010 $1294 Billion Deficit $1386.92 Billion Deficit
2011 $1299 Billion Deficit $1350.31 Billion Deficit
2012 $1100 Billion Deficit $1120.16 Billion Deficit
2013 $680 Billion Deficit $680 Billion Deficit
2014 $744 Billion Deficit $728.7 Billion Deficit

Source: WhiteHouse.gov