What has the budget deficit been at recently?
*Robert Schroeder, in Market Watch, March 22, 2019
”U.S. Runs Largest Monthly Budget Deficit on Record in February
The numbers: The federal government ran a budget deficit of $234 billion in February, the Treasury Department reported on Friday, the biggest monthly shortfall on record.
It was wider than the $215 billion recorded in February 2018, as spending rose 8% while receipts climbed 7%. Previously, the largest monthly deficit was $231.7 billion in February 2012.
The release of the February figures was later than normal due to the 35-day shutdown that ended Jan. 25.
What happened: Total spending was $401 billion in February while the government took in $167 billion.
Drivers of spending in February included agriculture and transportation programs. The Treasury said individual withheld and payroll taxes climbed 5% in the month. Refunds dropped 10% in February, a month in which the Congressional Budget Office notes the share of total refunds paid varies from year to year.
The big picture: For the fiscal year to date, the budget deficit is up 39% compared to the same period a year ago.
The expanding deficit comes as the Congressional Budget Office is projecting a shortfall of $897 billion for the full fiscal year, or 4.2% of gross domestic product. That’s up from $779 billion in fiscal 2018. The CBO sees trillion-dollar deficits beginning in fiscal 2022.”
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