Government budget balance

A government budget is a financial statement presenting the government's proposed revenues and spending for a financial year. The government budget balance, also alternatively referred to as general government balance,[1] public budget balance, or public fiscal balance, is the overall difference between government revenues and spending. A positive balance is called a government budget surplus, and a negative balance is a government budget deficit. A budget is prepared for each level of government (from national to local) and takes into account public social security obligations.

The government budget balance can be broken down into the primary balance and interest payments on accumulated government debt; the two together give the budget balance. Furthermore, the budget balance can be broken down into the structural balance (also known as cyclically-adjusted balance) and the cyclical component: the structural budget balance attempts to adjust for the impact of cyclical changes in real GDP, in order to indicate the longer-run budgetary situation.

The government budget surplus or deficit is a flow variable, since it is an amount per unit of time (typically, per year). Thus it is distinct from government debt, which is a stock variable since it is measured at a specific point in time. The cumulative flow of deficits equals the stock of debt.


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