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Federal deficit (surplus)

When federal government expenditures are exceeded by (are less than) federal government revenue.


The amount by which the revenue of a government from taxes, tariffs and other sources exceeds its expenditures. A surplus means that the budget is likely healthy, at least in the short-term, and in any case the government does not have to resort to borrowing. Some economists believe that a budget surplus or deficit has only minor importance, while others believe that it is very important to maintain a surplus if at all possible. Most U.S. states are required to maintain either a surplus or a balanced budget, while the federal government is not. See also: Federal deficit.


1. Equity in excess of par value. Surplus includes additional paid-in capital and retained earnings.
References in periodicals archive ?
Higher effective taxes and lower discretionary outlays have led to a surge in federal surpluses.
The emergence of large federal surpluses due to surging revenues and declining defense spending now threatens to unravel the earlier consensus favoring limited growth in government outlays.
Perhaps the best and worst part of the President's budget--and the part that has already achieved remarkable success--is the commitment to wall off at least 62 percent of federal surpluses over the next 15 years to pay down a part of the more than $5 trillion national debt.
According to this proposal, the nation would allocate 62 percent of prospective federal surpluses to paying the Social Security benefits promised under current law.
said, promising the first back-to-back federal surpluses in 30 years and promising surpluses "as far as the eye can see.
Now, the Congressional Budget Office projects annual federal surpluses through the first decade of the new millennium.
spending any projected federal surpluses before they even materialize; and

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