GAO-08-206, Budget Issues: Accrual Budgeting Useful in Certain Areas but Does Not Provide Sufficient Information for Reporting on Our Nation’s Longer-Term Fiscal Challenge

income taxes

Most of the $6.5 trillion of intragovernmental debt is held in government trust funds. About $2.8 trillion is held in the Social Security Old Age and Survivors Insurance trust fund in the form of special issue securities that are expected to be redeemed within the next 15 years or so. A majority of the remaining amount comes from federal civilian and military retirement trust funds, which are projected to continue accumulating assets in order to notionally fund future retirement costs.

budget deficits

Table 5 shows that from 2000 to 2009, these funds are expected to grow by $363 billion and $55 billion, respectively. Together, accumulations in these two trust funds account for 53 percent of the projected 10-year on-budget surplus. Fourth, and most significantly, the effective income tax rate on income other than capital gains rose and accounted for about 40 percent of the increase in revenues relative to GDP growth.

Accumulated Deficit vs. Retained Earnings

If an item of new direct What dose the accrued surplus /deficit quantity imply? or a limited tax benefit provision is canceled, the effect on the deficit may not be used as an offset to increases in direct spending or reductions in receipts under the PAYGO rules. Requirements such as these are sometimes referred to as a “lockbox” mechanism. In some years, a portion or all of the Government has been funded for the entire year by a continuing resolution.


If Washington were to cut the fiscal deficit, or to reduce taxes on the rich so as to increase income inequality, the result would not be higher domestic investment (as the supply-siders say) or a smaller current account deficit . Prior to the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis, the Fed held only about $2.5 trillion in federal debt. When the crisis hit, the Fed embarked on an aggressive round of quantitative easing, buying trillions of dollars in Treasury and other securities using newly created money in the hope of stimulating the economy.

Strategies to Reduce Budget Deficits

The ratio of held debt to GDP is a better measure of a country’s fiscal situation than just the nominal debt figure because it shows the burden of debt relative to the country’s total economic output and therefore its ability to finance or repay it. This measure also allows for an apples-to-apples comparison of one country’s fiscal situation over time or multiple countries’ debt burden in a meaningful way. A large nominal dollar debt is less of a problem if a country has a large economy and can easily repay it. For example, debt held by the public in 1946 was about $242 billion, or one percent of what it is today.

  • Current and future generations bear the costs of such losses, which can result in higher taxes, reductions in spending, or larger debt.
  • We cannot entirely rule out this risk, notably because it proves impossible to produce convincing instruments.
  • This series is also intended as a way to underscore the importance of state government in a year that will see a new governor and a new Legislature chosen by voters.
  • This attitude finds concrete expression in the way expenses and revenues are reported.
  • Accrual budgeting need not be viewed as a “one size fits all” choice.
  • The case statement helps align board members, funders, and supporters to a shared organizational vision.
  • Used to describe interest rates; i.e., 50 basis points is the same as ½%.