Budget Issues

OCG-93-1TR: Published: Dec 1, 1992. Publicly Released: Dec 1, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO summarized issues concerning the federal budget deficit problem and the factors involved in reducing the deficit.

GAO noted that: (1) the 1992 budget deficit totalled $290 billion or 4.9 percent of the gross national product; (2) the actual budget deficit totalled $386 billion, but was partially offset by $90 billion in trust fund surpluses; (3) the trust fund surplus is expected to decrease as the baby boom generation reaches retirement; (4) the 1992 deficit was held down by delaying funding for the savings and loan crisis and many unfunded costs resulting from future claims; (5) the deficit has grown because of the recession, inadequate cuts in domestic programs, and a combination of an accelerated defense buildup and a simultaneous reduction in taxes; and (6) solving the deficit problem will require a long-term fiscal policy path based on macroeconomic grounds, emphasizing the budget's investment portion, and examining the areas where the budget has had the largest increase.

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