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2019 US budget deficit reaches $1 trillion – highest since 2012

Facade of the Treasury Department building in Washington, D.C. (AgnosticPreachersKid/Wikimedia Commons)
September 10, 2019

The U.S. has spent more than $1 trillion over what it has taken in throughout the 2019 fiscal year, the highest deficit in seven years.

The Congressional Budget Office identified a deficit of $1.068 trillion, raising concerns that just the interest payments on U.S. debt alone could overtake current defense and domestic spending figures by 2046, according to reporting by The Hill.

With quarterly tax payments expected to arrive in September, the CBO expects the deficit to be revised downward to $960 billion in the final month before the fiscal year’s end in October. That expected revision would still stand at $181 billion higher than the 2018 fiscal year deficit.

The CBO’s report said revenues were up $102 billion from this point in 2018, but government spending went up $270 during that same period of time.

The 2019 figures amount to the biggest budget gap since the 2012 fiscal year, exceeding last year’s record shortfall of $779 billion.

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The revenue reports were consistent with CBO estimates of a three percent increase in revenue collections, attributed to money coming in from individual and payroll taxes, corporate taxes and tariffs placed on Chinese imports to the U.S.

The largest percentage increases in spending were brought on by the Department of Education, which increased by 70 percent with $41 billion in new spending; the Department of Defense, which increased spending by eight percent with $44 billion; and the Department of Veterans Affairs, which increased by seven percent with $13 billion in new spending.

Some of the largest mandatory spending programs also increased by about six percent, according to CBO figures. Social Security lead with the largest increase in dollars spent, adding $51 billion in spending. Medicare increased spending by $36 billion and Medicaid increased spending by $16 billion.

Conversely, the Department of Housing and Urban Development saw a 53 percent decrease in spending, cutting $29 billion. The Department of Homeland Security also decreased spending by 18 percent, cutting $11 billion.

Government-sponsored lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also brought in $16 billion more to the Treasury Department than they had in the previous year.

Reports about the U.S. deficit growth come amid other economic concerns, such as an ongoing ‘trade war’ between the U.S. and China which has seen the two countries raise tariffs against each other in an ongoing negotiation. China has warned it will match tariffs against those imposed on it by the U.S.

The ongoing trade dispute has seen the U.S. working to reroute its consumer supply chains away from China and reduce reliance on China’s strong rare earth mineral markets.

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The U.S. may also be fending off the first signs of a recession that could threaten economic growth.