The Financial Express

US federal budget deficit reaches $984b in FY2019

| Updated: October 30, 2019 13:57:45

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The US federal budget deficit reached 984 billion US dollars in the fiscal year 2019, up by 26 per cent year-on-year, and is the highest since 2012, the Treasury Department has said.

The federal deficit was 4.6 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, which is 0.8 percentage point higher than the previous year, the department said on Friday.

Total outlays for the FY2019 stood at $4,447 billion, up by 8.0 per cent from the previous year, while total receipts stood at $3,462 billion, up by 4.0 per cent, reports Xinhua.

The top three outlays in the fiscal year are $1,044 billion on social security, $688 billion on national defence, and $651 billion on federal health insurance Medicare.

Tim Penny, co-chair of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said in a statement on Friday that by next year, US federal deficit will likely top $1.0 trillion and keep rising indefinitely, which is "unsustainable by any measure."

"Throwing tax cuts and spending increases on the national credit card were not examples of bipartisanship or leadership. They were examples of irresponsibility and short-sightedness," Penny said. "It is time to stop fighting and come together to solve our nation's biggest fiscal challenges."

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, meanwhile, said in a statement that "in order to truly put America on a sustainable financial path, we must enact proposals -- like the President's 2020 budget plan -- to cut wasteful and irresponsible spending."

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently estimated that the 2019 budget deficit would be $960 billion and average $1.2 trillion between 2020 and 2029.

Over the coming decade, deficits (after adjustments to exclude the effects of shifts in the timing of certain payments) fluctuate between 4.4 per cent and 4.8 per cent of GDP, "well above the average over the past 50 years," the CBO said in a report released in late August.

Earlier in August, US President Donald Trump signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, which boosts discretionary spending limits and suspends the public debt limit for the next two years.

The budget deal will lift the budget cap for discretionary spending to $1.37 trillion in 2020 and $1.375 trillion in 2021, expanding defence outlays, demanded by Republicans, and boosting domestic spending, including health care for veterans, sought by Democrats.

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