The real 2008 federal budget deficit was $5.1 trillion, not the $455 billion previously reported by the Congressional Budget Office, according to the "2008 Financial Report of the United States Government" as released by the U.S. Department of Treasury.I believe I correctly backed into that $5.1 Trillion number below (drop me a comment if anyone interpreted this differently).
The difference between the $455 billion "official" budget deficit numbers and the $5.1 trillion budget deficit cited by "2008 Financial Report of the United States Government" is that the official budget deficit is calculated on a cash basis, where all tax receipts, including Social Security tax receipts, are used to pay government liabilities as they occur.
Click for larger chart
More frightening, the article details the growing federal obligations as calculated by John Williams at Shadowstats:
Calculations from the "2008 Financial Report of the United States Government" also show that the GAAP negative net worth of the federal government has increased to $59.3 trillion while the total federal obligations under GAAP accounting now total $65.5 trillion.
How large a figure is this? More than the size of the global economy, estimated at $54 Trillion for 2007.
Source: ShadowStats / Department of Treasury