Budget Deficit Twice as Big as Last Year's

By Jeannine Aversa
Associated Press
Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Treasury Department says the federal deficit swelled to $268.7 billion in the first nine months of this budget year as record spending outpaced revenue.

The department's look at the government's balance sheets, released yesterday, shows that the deficit for the budget year that began Oct. 1 was up sharply from the deficit of nearly $121 billion for the corresponding period last year.

The new year-to-date deficit of $268.7 billion was the third-highest on record. A flood of tax rebates left the government's coffers and contributed to the bigger deficit, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

Spending totaled $2.2 trillion, while revenue came to $1.93 trillion.

The Bush administration estimated in February that the deficit for this year would be $410 billion. Some private economists think that this year's budget deficit will turn out to be higher than expected as an economic slowdown has cut into tax revenue.

Spending of $2.2 trillion so far this year is up from $2.1 trillion reported for the corresponding period last year. Meanwhile, revenue of $1.93 trillion is down from $1.945 trillion a year ago.

The biggest spending categories are programs from the Health and Human Services Department, including Medicare and Medicaid, $520.4 billion; Social Security, $491.7 billion; military, $439.5 billion; and interest on the public debt, $377.3 billion.

For the month of June, the government ran a surplus of $50.7 billion. Revenue totaled $259.9 billion for the month, while spending came to $209.2 billion.

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