Meanwhile, a word about the federal deficit: It's a whopping $45 billion, and still growing. Back in June, the Carter administration estimated the federal budget deficit for fiscal 1981 would be $29.8 billion. Now estimates go up to $50 billion.
Interest rates are partly responsible. Each time rates go up 1 percent, interest on the national debt increases by $2.8 billion a year. So the government owes more money, even though it hasn't bought any more goods or services.
The Carter administration has asked Congress to raise the national debt ceiling from $925 billion to $978.6 billion. Officials say it is almost certain Ronald Reagan will be forced to have the dubious distinction of asking for a boost later to over $1 trillion. Yes, that was t-r-i-l-l-i-o-n.m