Share of Fed Income Swallowed by Deficit-Coverage Borrowing Jumps 566% in 3 Years, IRS Reports

By Fred Lucas | January 21, 2011 | 1:36pm EST

New $20 currency notes roll off the presses at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington. (AP File Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

( – The federal government’s reliance on borrowed money to carry out its functions more than doubled between fiscal year 2008 and 2009, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Also, between fiscal year 2007 and 2009, borrowing as a percentage of federal income increased by 566 percent.

“Borrowing to cover deficit" accounted for 40 percent of all of the government’s income for fiscal year 2009, according to an IRS pie chart of government outlays (expenditures) and government income, the resources used to pay for those expenditures (see page 97).

The government took in $2.105 trillion and spent $3.518 trillion in that fiscal year, producing a deficit of $1.413 trillion, according to the IRS. (The fiscal year ran from Oct. 2008 through Sept. 2009.)

In the previous fiscal year, 2008, “borrowing to cover deficit” accounted for 15 percent of all federal income to cover the expenses of running the government (see page 100). The deficit in that fiscal year was $459 billion.

In FY 2007, only 6 percent of the federal income was borrowed money to cover the deficit, according to the IRS (see page 91). Thus, over a three-year period (fiscal years), borrowing as a percentage of federal income increased by 566 percent – from 6 percent to 40 percent -- from FY 2007 to FY 2009.

These are the most recent fiscal year numbers available as pie charts published in the IRS’s 1040 Instruction Booklets. Under the Internal Revenue Code, “In the case of any booklet of instructions for Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ prepared by the Secretary for filing individual income tax returns for taxable years beginning in any calendar year, the Secretary shall include in a prominent place— (1) a pie-shaped graph showing the relative sizes of the major outlay categories, and (2) a pie-shaped graph showing the relative sizes of the major income categories.”

The bulk of these borrowing increases happened when both the House and Senate were controlled by the Democratic Party:  the 110th Congress, Jan. 4, 2007 to Jan. 3, 2009, and the 111th Congress, Jan. 6, 2009 to Jan. 4, 2011.  (During the first three months of fiscal year 2007, the Republican Party controlled the House and the Senate – the 109th Congress.)   Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) became the first female speaker of the House in the 110th Congress, on Jan. 4, 2007; she is now, in the 112th Congress, the Minority Leader in the House.

U.S. Capitol (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Fiscal year 2009 covers October 2008 through September 2009. The most recent 1040 booklet reflecting President Barack Obama’s first fiscal year of 2010 has not been released.

In fiscal year 2006, borrowing to cover the deficit made up 9 percent of all federal revenue/income. The balance came from taxes for Social Security, Medicare, unemployment and other retirement, personal income taxes, corporate income taxes, and excise, customs, estate, gift, and miscellaneous taxes, according to the IRS.

That 9 percent was down from 13 percent in fiscal 2005 (see page 83). In 2004, the number was 18 percent (see page 81); in 2003, 17 percent (see page 74), a two-fold increase from 8 percent in 2002 (see page 76).

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