WASHINGTON: The U.S. government’s budget deficit through February hit an all-time high of $l.05 trillion for the first five months of a budget year, as spending to deal with the coronavirus pandemic surged at a pace far above an increase in tax revenue.
The Treasury Department reported Wednesday that the October through February deficit was 68% larger than the $624.5 billion deficit recorded during the same period last year.
It easily surpassed the previous five-month deficit of $652 billion set in 2010 when the government was spending to try to lift the country out of the deep recession caused by the 2008 financial crisis.
The Congressional Budget Office has projected that the deficit for the budget year that ends on Sept. 30 will be $2.3 trillion. However, that estimate does not include the cost of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief measure, which has cleared the Senate and is up for approval in the House. Last year’s deficit, also driven higher by virus relief packages, was a record $3.1 trillion.
The deficit for the month of February was $310.9 billion, up from $236.3 billion in February 2020, the month before the pandemic hit with force, shutting down businesses and triggering millions of job losses.
From October through February, government revenue is up 5.1% to $1.44 trillion while outlays are up 24.7% to $2.48 trillion. The deficit is the gap between revenues and outlays.
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