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jueves, 26 de septiembre de 2013

U.S. budget deficit down 35% through August

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch)
The U.S. government recorded a budget deficit of $148 billion in August, the Treasury Department reported , but remains on course for its first full-year shortfall below $1 trillion since 2008
The August budget gap brings the deficit for the 2013 fiscal year so far to $755 billion — 35% below the $1.16 trillion for the first 11 months of fiscal 2012
The government’s fiscal year runs from October to September
The deficit has been falling mostly thanks to increased revenues, as well as modestly lower government spending partly due to the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester
Through August, receipts of individual income taxes, payroll taxes and corporate taxes have all grown from a year earlier, reflecting both higher tax rates and an improving economy
Revenue from October to August was $2.5 trillion, Treasury said, up 13% from a year ago
Spending for the fiscal year to date, meanwhile, is down 4%
In July, the Obama administration forecast a deficit of $759 billion for the budget year that ends Sept. 30, which equals 4.7% of gross domestic product
The Congressional Budget Office is more optimistic, projecting a shortfall of $642 billion
Either figure would be the smallest gap since 2008’s deficit of $455 billion
The U.S. has run deficits of more than $1 trillion for every year of President Barack Obama’s presidency, though they have fallen as the economy gradually improves
The shortfall for fiscal 2012 was $1.1 trillion
The improved deficit picture has taken some of the heat off the White House and Congress to strike long-term budget deals
But Washington is facing two looming fiscal deadlines: approving spending for the budget year that begins Oct. 1 and raising the country’s borrowing limit this fall. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said last month that the U.S. would hit its borrowing limit in mid-October, and the White House has urged Congress to raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling without conditions
Republicans, meanwhile, have said they won’t raise the debt limit without conditions including spending cuts
Another option is demanding a delay in all or part of President Barack Obama’s health-care law, popularly known as Obamacare
Receipts were $185 billion in August, a 4% increase compared with the same month in the prior year, and spending was $333 billion, a 10% drop
Adjusting for shifts in the timing of some payments, spending would have dropped by only 4%, a Treasury official said

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