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Federal deficit balloons to record in February

By
Clyde Hughes
U.S. President Donald J. Trump (L), with Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin (R), participates in a financial services executive order signing in 2017. A treasury report revealed the federal deficit increased to a record level in February. Pool Photo by Shawn Thew/UPI
U.S. President Donald J. Trump (L), with Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin (R), participates in a financial services executive order signing in 2017. A treasury report revealed the federal deficit increased to a record level in February. Pool Photo by Shawn Thew/UPI | License Photo

March 23 (UPI) -- The federal government's budget deficit grew to $234 billion in February, the largest monthly shortfall on record, according to a Treasury Department report Friday.

Spending jumped 8 percent while receipts increased 7 percent, according to a report that came out later than expected because of the partial government shutdown that ended Jan. 25. The previous monthly deficit record was $231.7 billion in February 2012. In 2018, the deficit was $215 billion.

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Overall, the federal government spent $401billion in February while taking in $167 billion. The budget deficit has increased 39 percent for the fiscal year compared to the same period a year ago, MarketWatch reported.

The Washington Post reported the February deficit is 46 percent larger than what the government saw in all of 2007. The average monthly deficit under the Trump administration -- $117 billion -- is now higher than both the average monthly deficits in Obama's second term and in his first term, when the government was focused on recession recovery.

Part of the increase is because of an increase in spending and tax receipts over the past decade, but also the 2017 Republican tax-cut bill, which has resulted in a drop in how much revenue the government has collected from corporations.

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Collected individual income taxes were up in fiscal 2018 compared to 2017 while corporate tax receipts were down over the same period. For example, corporate tax receipts tumbled $92 billion in fiscal 2018 relative to fiscal 2017 and are down $15 billion more so far in fiscal 2019.

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