How Big is the Federal Deficit – Really?

Citizens for Tax Justice:

n July, the Bush administration estimated that the fiscal 2006 budget deficit, including $174 billion borrowed from the Social Security Trust Fund, will be $470 billion. That will bring total federal borrowing over the past five years to $2,449 billion.

That $2.4 trillion in borrowing means that from fiscal 2002 through fiscal 2006, a quarter of non-Social Security federal spending will be financed with borrowed money. In contrast, in fiscal 1999 through 2001, the federal government did not borrow a penny from the Social Security Trust Fund.

Indeed, the government saved all of Social Security’s $434 billion in surpluses, and actually ran surpluses in its regular budget, too, thus paying down the national debt by $120 billion.