Aug 12, 2019 - Politics & Policy

U.S. budget deficit blows past last year's total with 2 months to go

The U.S. budget deficit has already surpassed last year's total figure, growing to $866.8 billion in just the first 10 months of the fiscal year, according to Treasury Department data reported by Bloomberg.

By the numbers: The deficit is up 27% from the same period last fiscal year, which begins in October. Spending has continued to outpace revenue, with a 3% rise of revenue overshadowed by an 8% jump in spending. President Trump's tariffs have nearly doubled revenue from customs duties to $57 billion, but the modest increase has been dwarfed by increased spending on defense and health care, per CNBC.

The big picture: As Bloomberg Sarah McGregor writes, "Republican tax cuts, increased federal spending and an aging population have contributed to the fiscal strains, though the GOP says tax reform enacted last year will spur economic growth and lift government revenue."

  • The two-year budget deal struck by Trump and Democrats will authorize further increases in defense and domestic spending, much to the frustration of deficit hawks in Congress.
  • The Congressional Budget Office has projected the deficit to surpass $1 trillion by 2022.

Go deeper ... Chart: How the U.S. budget deficit has fluctuated since the 1980s

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