The federal government would have run a $270 billion surplus in fiscal 2015 had federal spending merely returned to the level it was in fiscal 2008—the last fiscal year before President Barack Obama took office.
That is according to the official spending and revenue numbers published by the Treasury.
In fiscal 2008, according to the Treasury, the federal government brought in $2,523,642,000,000 in revenue and spent $2,978,440,000,000. It thus ran a deficit of $454,798,000,000.
In fiscal 2015, the government brought in a record $3,248,723,000,000 in revenue. That is $270,283,000,000 more than the $2,978,440,000,000 that the government spent in fiscal 2008.
But the federal government did not limit its spending to $2,978,440,000,000 in fiscal 2015. Instead it spent $3,687,622,000,000.
So, instead of having the surplus of $270,283,000,000 that it would have had in fiscal 2015 had it only spent as much as it spent in fiscal 2008, the government ran a deficit of $438,899,000,000.
Similarly, the federal government would have run a surplus of $41,931,000,000 in fiscal 2014—when it brought in $3,020,371,000,000 in revenue–had it held spending to the $2,978,440,000,000 level of fiscal 2008. Instead, the government spent $3,503,732,000,000 in fiscal 2014 and ran a deficit of $483,361,000,000
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