Gross Federal Debt as of September 30, 2004

As a follow-up to Kash’s post earlier, note that the total Federal debt reported as of 9/30/2004 was $7378 billion. Table B-78 of the Economic Report of the President 2004 noted that gross Federal debt was $6760 billion as of 9/30/2003, which means debt rose by $618 billion. It is true that the Economic Report of the President 2004 had its prediction that debt would rise by $726 billion, but we have already noted how the White House made this prediction to make the realization look good by comparison. By contrast, the following have been the last four annual increases for this measure of the debt:

2000 $23 billoin

2001 $141 billion

2002 $429 billion

2003 $562 billion

If war and recession were the only reasons for the deficit, why does it continue to grow even as the White House claims the economy is doing great? And why does the Council of Economic Advisors predict an even greater general fund deficit for the upcoming year?