I bet the old man is rolling in his grave:
The federal budget deficit hit a record $374.2 billion in 2003, the administration reported Monday, as the costs of the war in Iraq, a new round of tax cuts and economic weakness pushed the government’s red ink to the highest level in history.
However, Bush administration officials noted that the 2003 deficit represented just 3.5 percent of the country’s total economic output, below the 5 percent and 6 percent levels hit in the 1980s during the Reagan administration. The administration prefers to link the deficit to total economic output as a better measure of the country’s ability to carry the debt burden.
The $374.2 billion deficit figure represented an improvement from the administration’s forecast this summer when Bush officials projected the deficit this year would hit $455 billion. Officials credited stronger-than-expected tax collections in recent months in combination with less government spending for the improvement over the summer forecast.