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Like all of us, the government's income and spending don't always match. Sometimes the government spends more money than it takes in—a budget deficit. When the opposite occurs, and the government's revenue exceeds expenses, that is known as a budget surplus. Sounds simple, but predicting how long a deficit or surplus will last and which one will occur from year to year has proved to be a complex task for economists.
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Fed in Print: An index of the economic research conducted by the Fed.