CBO: US Deficit $61B Lower Than Last Year

Saturday, 07 Dec 2013 02:58 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The government has racked up a $231 billion budget deficit for the first two months of the new fiscal year, but that's down $61 billion from last year's figures, according to a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The CBO's findings said increased tax revenues and lower spending led to the drop, reports The Hill.

Individual tax receipts were up by 10 percent after a two-point payroll tax expired in January. In addition, tax rates increased on people making more than $400,000 a year, also narrowing the deficit.

The decline also reflects a five percent spending decrease, reported the CBO, which came with sequestration cuts. For example, in the first two months of the year, there was $10 billion less in defense spending.

In addition, unemployment benefits spending and net interest on the public debt also each dropped by $3 billion, and disaster aid spending was down as well.

Department of Agriculture spending also dipped by $4 billion, and Federal Emergency Management Agency spending dropped by $2 billion, reports the CBO.

But increases in two of the government's largest entitlement programs, Social Security and Medicaid went up, by $7 billion and $1billion, respectively.

The difference of one Day made a huge spending difference for the month of December, the CBO reports. Because Dec. 1 fell on a weekend, the government incurred a $140 billion deficit in November, $33 billion smaller than the $172 billion deficit in November 2012.

With Dec. 1 falling on a weekend in both years, some payments that would have been made in December came instead in November.

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