U.S. govt deficit hits 7-year high
The U.S. government ended fiscal year 2019 with the largest budget deficit in seven years as gains in tax receipts were offset by higher spending and growing debt service payments, the Treasury Department said on Friday.
It is the first time since the early 1980s that the budget gap has widened over four consecutive years. The figures reflect the second full budget year under U.S. President Donald Trump, a Republican, and come at a time when the country has an expanding tax base with moderate economic growth and an unemployment rate currently near a 50-year low.
The U.S. budget deficit widened to $984 billion, which was 4.6 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. The previous fiscal year deficit was $779 billion, with a deficit-to-GDP ratio of 3.8 percent. Total receipts increased by 4 percent to $3.5 trillion but outlays rose by 8.2 percent to $4.4 trillion.
“Americans from all walks of life are flourishing again thanks to pro-growth policies enacted by this administration,” Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought said in a statement accompanying the figures.
The deficit reached a peak of $1.4 trillion in 2009 as the Obama administration and Congress took emergency measures to shore up the nation’s banking system.