Economy

Budget deficit smashes $1 trillion mark, the highest in seven years

Vehicles drive by the US Treasury Building in Washington, DC on November 15, 2011.
Karen Bleier | AFP | Getty Images

The U.S. government's red ink for fiscal 2019 swelled past the $1 trillion mark in August, the first time that level has been eclipsed in seven years, the Treasury Department reported Thursday.

The total shortfall rose to nearly $1.07 trillion, thanks to a difference between revenue and expenses of more than $214.1 billion in August. The government last saw that large of a fiscal deficit in 2012, when the gap was nearly $1.1 trillion.

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During his presidential campaign, President Donald Trump promised economic growth that would easily take care of the tax cuts and new spending he planned. His 2017 tax break for corporations and individuals has helped contribute to a deficit that has grown from $584.6 billion in 2016.

Revenue has accelerated slightly in 2019 to about $280 billion a month, but so have expenditures, which are averaging $377 billion a month, or about $25 billion a month more than in 2018. Last year closed with a $779 billion deficit.

As the deficit has grown so has the national debt, which is now at $22.5 trillion, up 13% since Trump took office.

However, the deficit as a percentage of GDP has contracted significantly over the past several years, from a peak of 9.8% in 2009 to about 5% now.

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