More Deficits To Come
August 7, 1997
Economists aren't about to wave good-bye to federal budget deficits. They say there are still too many imponderables to be able to make projections for the federal budget in 2002.
- Rejecting President Clinton's assurances of a $20 billion surplus in 2002, economists point out that a recession could send deficits soaring if tax revenues fall and spending on welfare and other programs rises.
- Any projection plus or minus $200 billion for the 2002 fiscal year "is not unreasonable," says David Blitzer, chief economist at Standard & Poor's.
- The deficit peaked in 1992 at $290 billion, but has fallen sharply since then to $107 billion in 1996 -- and is expected to total $37 billion for the fiscal year that ends September 30.
While the President and Congress have been busy taking bows for the latest budget agreement, most economists say Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan deserves most of the credit for following a non-inflationary policy that has allowed the economy to grow and revenues to pour into the Treasury.
Source: Beth Belton, "Economists Skeptical Over Future Surplus," USA Today, August 7, 1997.
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