WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. government budget deficit for fiscal 2012 year was $1.1 trillion, $200 billion less than the 2011 deficit, the Congressional Budget Office reported.
Outlays for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, outlays were 1.6 percent lower than those for fiscal year 2011 and revenues were a bit higher, McClatchy Newspapers reported.
The non-partisan CBO said Friday it estimated the 2012 deficit was equal to 7 percent of gross domestic product, "down from 8.7 percent in 2011, 9.0 percent in 2010, and 10.1 percent in 2009." However, excluding those three years, the deficit as a percentage of GDP in fiscal year 2012 was greater than in any year since 1947, the CBO said.
The Treasury Department is to report this month on the official fiscal year 2012 deficit.
If the budget hits the so-called fiscal cliff -- in which political gridlock leads to automatic spending cuts and a return to tax rates in effect prior to tax cuts enacted during the administration of former President George W. Bush -- the budget deficit next year would be $641 billion. That would decline to $387 billion for 2014, the CBO said.
On the other hand, The Hill newspaper reported, if Congress avoids the fiscal cliff, the next two years would see deficits of $1.03 trillion and $924 billion, consecutively.
The budget deficit and the national debt were significant topics of discussion in the first presidential campaign debate. Republican nominee Mitt Romney claimed, inaccurately, that President Barack Obama had doubled the annual shortfall, the Hill said.
Obama pledged in February 2009 "to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office," noting that would "require us to make difficult decisions and face challenges we've long neglected."
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