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The Federal Budget

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At the end of fiscal year 1998, there was a surplus on the books of the federal government—the first in 28 years. The latest Congressional Budget Office projections indicate that federal surpluses will accumulate during the next decade to the tune of $2.7 trillion. Over the short term, most of the surplus is expected to occur on the off-budget side of the ledger—in the Social Security plus Postal Service account. The on-budget side will not register a surplus until 2001. As a percent of GDP, revenues are at a postwar high of 20.9%, while outlays have hit a 25-year low of 19.6%. If discretionary spending after 2002 adheres to the real level set for that year, outlays are expected to reach a low point of 17.3% of GDP by 2009.

Suggested citation: "The Federal Budget," Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Trends, no. 99-03, pp. 14, 03.01.1999.

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