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Economic Snapshot: Government Current Receipts and Expenditures

Federal Income Tax Burden by Income Group, 2003

Q1-05 Q2-05 Q3-05 Q4-05
Growth Rate-Real Domestic Product 3.8% 3.3% 4.1% 1.7%
Inflation Rate-Consumer Price Index 2.5% 3.7% 5.5% 3.2%
Civilian Unemployment Rate 5.2% 5.1% 5.0% 4.9%


Shaded vertical lines represent recessions.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis


What trends do you see in federal receipts for the '80s, '90s and 2000s?

Federal receipts were fairly flat, on average, over most of the 1980s. In the 1990s, after a slight downturn following the recession in 1991, federal receipts rose for the rest of the decade. Beginning in 2001, federal receipts have generally been falling.


What do you notice about total government expenditures during the recessions that took place from 1980 to the present? Why might your observations be expected?

Except for one small downturn in 1991, total government expenditures rose during recessions. This is not surprising since claims for unemployment compensation and other government transfers generally rise during recessions.


When comparing federal expenditures with federal receipts, describe whether the U.S. economy has experienced a budget surplus (receipts greater than expenditures) or a budget deficit (expenditures greater than receipts) from 1980 to the present.

For most of these years, the federal government ran budget deficits. The exception was 1998-2001, during which the United States experienced budget surpluses.