The projection for the deficit at the end of the current budget year on Sept. 30 remains far worse than when Bush took office. At that time, both White House and congressional forecasters projected cumulative surpluses of $5.6 trillion over the subsequent decade.
Instead, deficits returned three years ago after four years of budget surpluses. The chief reason was that forecasters assumed that a surge in revenue in the late 1990s — fueled in large measure by the stock market boom — would continue.
The economy hit a recession, the market tumbled and a surge in homeland security spending after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks combined to produce a return to deficits.
In other words, this is reading tea leaves for any out year, and no one is good at it. Not even sometime economist Paul Krugman.