Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2003-2012   [open pdf - 4MB]

"This volume is one of a series of reports on the state of the budget and the economy that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issues each year. It satisfies the requirement of section 202(e) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 for CBO to submit to the Committees on the Budget periodic reports about fiscal policy and to provide five-year baseline projections of the federal budget. In accordance with CBO's mandate to provide impartial analysis, the report contains no recommendations. The economic recession and recent laws have combined to sharply reduce the budget surpluses projected a year ago. In January 2001, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that under the laws and policies then in force, the federal government would run surpluses in fiscal years 2002 through 2011 totaling $5.6 trillion. In CBO's new projections, that cumulative surplus has fallen to $1.6 trillion--a drop of $4 trillion. For both 2002 and 2003, CBO now projects that, instead of surpluses, the total budget will show small deficits, if current policies remain the same and the economy follows the path that CBO is forecasting. In 2001, by contrast, the federal government ran a surplus of $127 billion. In CBO's new baseline, the off-budget accounts (which reflect the spending and revenues of Social Security and the Postal Service) run surpluses throughout the projection period. In the on-budget accounts, by contrast, surpluses do not reemerge until 2010."

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