2004 deficit hit record $413 billion
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) – The federal deficit surged to a record $413 billion in 2004, the Treasury Department announced Thursday, injecting the figure into a presidential campaign in which the two parties have clashed over President Bush’s management of the economy and the budget.
The number was a significant improvement from the shortfalls that analysts projected earlier this year, including a $521 billion estimate the Bush administration made in February. In March, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated a deficit of $477 billion.
Both the administration and the Congressional Budget Office had lowered their deficit forecasts as the year progressed, largely due to stronger than expected revenue collections.
Even so, the final deficit figure released Thursday easily surpassed the previous record in dollar terms, a revised $377 billion deficit that was run up last year.
In a statement, Treasury Secretary John Snow cited improving economic data and said the budgetary improvement shows Bush is on track to halve the deficit over five years as he has promised.
“All of this shows that the president’s tax relief initiatives are having the intended effects,” Snow said.
“There is simply no credible way to present the largest deficit in history as good news,” said Rep. John Spratt of South Carolina, top Democrat on the House Budget Committee. “The Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House, but today’s news proves again they have failed to control the budget.”