The Federal Budget and the Public Debt

October 19, 1934

Report Outline
Depression Deficits of the Federal Government
Budget Policies of the Roosevelt Administration
General and Emergency Expenditures and Federal Assets
Special Focus

Depression Deficits of the Federal Government

Course of Receipts, Expenditures, and Debt, 1930–1934

During five years of depression, ensuing upon the stock market crash of October, 1929, deficits of the federal government totaled $11,655.000,000, accompanied by an increase of $11,005,000,000 in the national debt. Further deficits of large proportions are in prospect for the remainder of the present fiscal year and the next-fiscal year, with the outlook for a balanced budget in 1937 still uncertain.

The fiscal year 1930 ended with a surplus, due to the fact that the principal tax levies were based upon income received during the calendar year 1929, but in no subsequent year have the government's revenues come within striking distance of its total expenditures. The deficit of the fiscal year 1934 was nearly four and a half times as large as that of 1931.

In the federal government's last period of unbalanced budgets—the fiscal years 1917–1919, inclusive—it accumulated a total deficit of $23,257,000,000, and from March 31, 1917, to August 31, 1919, when the war debt reached its peak, the increase in debt for $25,315,000,000. The accumulated deficit of the depression period to date is a little more than half the total deficit of the war-armistice period. The public debt, however, is $592,946,000 in excess of the peak reached in 1919.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Federal Budget and National Debt
Sep. 01, 2017  National Debt
Jul. 12, 2013  Government Spending
May 15, 2012  State Capitalism
Mar. 18, 2011  National Debt
Nov. 14, 2008  The National Debt
Dec. 09, 2005  Budget Deficit
Apr. 13, 2001  Budget Surplus
Feb. 01, 1991  Recession's Regional Impact
Jan. 20, 1984  Federal Budget Deficit
Sep. 09, 1977  Federal Reorganization and Budget Reform
Nov. 24, 1972  Limits on Federal Spending
Jan. 08, 1969  Federal Budget Making
Dec. 06, 1967  National Debt Management
Aug. 01, 1962  Fiscal and Budget Policy
Nov. 27, 1957  National Debt Limit
Mar. 20, 1957  Spending Controls
Dec. 24, 1953  Public Debt Limit
Feb. 13, 1952  Tax and Debt Limitation
Nov. 30, 1949  Government Spending
Jan. 06, 1948  Legislative Budget-Making
May 23, 1944  The National Debt
Feb. 01, 1943  The Executive Budget and Appropriations by Congress
Dec. 27, 1939  Revision of the Federal Budget System
Oct. 10, 1938  The Outstanding Government Debt
Nov. 20, 1937  Budget Balancing vs. Pump Priming
May 02, 1936  The Deficit and the Public Debt
Oct. 19, 1934  The Federal Budget and the Public Debt
Feb. 10, 1933  Extraordinary Budgeting of Federal Finances
Dec. 01, 1932  Reduction of Federal Expenditures
Dec. 01, 1930  The National Budget System
Oct. 02, 1930  Federal Revenues and Expenditures
Nov. 02, 1927  The Public Debt and Foreign Loans
Nov. 15, 1926  Rising Cost of Government in the United States
Feb. 05, 1925  Four Years Under the Budget System
Deficit, Federal Debt, and Balanced Budget