CBO’s Projections of Federal Receipts and Expenditures in the National Income and Product Accounts
Federal receipts and expenditures in the national income and product accounts (NIPAs) differ in certain ways from revenues and outlays as shown in the federal budget. This report presents CBO’s baseline projections using the NIPA framework.
The federal government’s fiscal transactions are recorded in two major sets of accounts: The Budget of the United States Government, which is prepared by the Office of Management and Budget, and the national income and product accounts (NIPAs), which are produced by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The federal budget is the framework generally used by executive branch agencies and the Congress; it is the presentation of budgetary activity that is most often discussed in the press. The NIPAs, by contrast, are not intended to help the government plan or manage its activities. Instead, those accounts provide a general framework for describing the U.S. economy and show how the federal government fits into that framework. The different purposes served by the federal budget and the NIPAs are examined briefly below.
Each year, CBO reports 10-year projections of federal revenues and outlays developed using the standard structure for budgetary accounting. This report presents those revenue and spending projections translated to the NIPA framework, and it compares CBO’s baseline budget projections with those projections on a NIPA basis.
The conceptual differences between the budget accounts and the NIPAs over the 2018–2028 period (CBO’s most recent baseline projection period) cause cumulative receipts in the NIPAs to exceed projected revenues in CBO’s baseline by about 5 percent and expenditures to exceed outlays by about 6 percent. In the NIPAs, projected expenditures exceed projected receipts by a total of $14.5 trillion; the deficits in CBO’s baseline budget projections total $13.2 trillion over the same period.