March 25, 2004,
Last week the Congressional Budget Office released its updated long-term fiscal forecast. BuzzCharts wants to make a point that this is the “non-partisan” Congressional Budget Office, a fact that is always emphasized when the CBO presents fiscal news that might reflect poorly on the Bush administration. But this fact should also be emphasized when the office has fiscal news that reflects well on the administration.
CBO projections show the deficit falling next year and the year after. In fact, the deficit falls in 10 of the 12 years covered by this forecast, rising only a miniscule amount in the other 2 years.
There’s also good news in the revenue department: As you can see in the chart above, revenues are climbing faster than expenses in every year projected by the CBO. Most notably, in the next 2 years, revenues are projected to increase by 25 percent. Also note that in the year 2012, the deficit is projected to fall to $38 billion, a whopping 78 percent drop from the previous year. The 2 years after that, the deficit will drop again by more than half, leaving the deficit at a tiny $15 billion.
Critics, of course, will note that projections that far out are very nearly useless. This, of course, is true. BuzzCharts just wishes those critics would keep the same thing in mind when long-term projections point to a worsening fiscal picture. At the moment, however, all of this is beside the point: The latest projections show a steadily improving fiscal outlook for the near term when forecasting tends to be at its most accurate. The Bush Boom is sufficiently developed that it is beginning to affect Congressional Budget forecasts.