According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the economy grew by a modest 2 percent in the third quarter of 2012. While this was stronger growth than the preceding quarter, all of the increase in GDP growth came from the biggest increase in federal government spending in over two years.
The federal deficit has surpassed $1 trillion for the fourth consecutive year. This chart places the federal budget for fiscal year 2012 into perspective by comparing the most recent historical spending and revenue data presented in the President’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget.
In recent weeks, politicians and pundits have often implied that reductions in defense spending would shrink the gross domestic product (GDP) and further weaken the already-weak economic recovery. Based on this week’s chart series, their concerns don’t appear to pan out. In fact, over the past 30 years, real economic growth has grown and shrunk irrespective of defense-spending levels.
Each year, the president releases an annual budget request in February that is a reflection of the administration’s promises for what the federal budget will look like in the next decade, given their proposed policies for the years to come. This chart compares projected deficits through 2019 under the most recent Presidential Budget Request, with deficits projected in the Obama administration’s first budget called a “New Era of Fiscal Responsibility.”…
The U.S. is slipping down an unsustainable fiscal path at a much faster rate than before. This unforeseen acceleration in the public debt is important because high levels of debt can have a negative impact on the economy.
The excitement about three-tenths of one percent drop in the unemployment rate expressed by several media outlets on the morning of October 5, 2012 tells you a lot about how low our expectations are about the economy have become. Have we gotten so used to an 8 percent unemployment rate? And are we so pessimistic about the outlook of our economy that a rate slightly below that number is interpreted as great news?
Beneficiaries continue to receive awards as long as they remain disabled or until they reach the full retirement age. The data show, however, that less than 10 percent of individuals leave the disability rolls by returning to work or medical improvement. Most beneficiaries simply convert automatically to retirement benefits at the federal retirement age.
In this week’s chart, Mercatus Center senior research fellows Veronique de Rugy and Jason Fichtner provide a comparison of the official unemployment rate reported by the media with alternative measures of the unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Data from the BLS is used to assess labor market conditions from several perspectives.
In the face of ballooning federal budget deficits, people have been wondering how the Clinton surpluses evaporated. Indeed, between 1998 and 2001 and for the first time in decades, the U.S. budget was balanced. Using Congressional Budget Office data, these two charts—modified from the ones made by Charles Blahous in his e21 piece “How Did Federal Surpluses Become Huge Deficits?”—provide some answers to this question.