The Treasury Department reported Friday that the federal government ran a budget deficit of almost $234 billion in the month of February, the highest monthly deficit ever recorded by the U.S., pushing the 2019 deficit to over $544 billion after five months of the fiscal year, over $150 billion more than the same point a year ago.
In its budget report, the Treasury Department took the unusual step of adding a "highlight" explanation on the latest batch of red ink for Uncle Sam.
"February has been a deficit month 53 times out of 65 fiscal years as February is the first full month of the annual individual tax filing season and generally contains elevated individual tax refund levels, while also not containing a major corporate or individual tax due date," the report stated.
Revenues were up in February 2019 by almost $12 billion from February of 2018 - that marked only the fourth month since the GOP tax cut went into effect that revenues had been up on a year-to-year basis.
So far in Fiscal Year 2019, revenues coming in to Uncle Sam are down $8 billion.
Spending in February was $401.2 billion, up from $371 billion a year earlier. Overall spending in 2019 is up about $145 billion in total from the same period of 2018.
The surging deficit is no surprise to those on Capitol Hill or in the Trump Administration, as earlier this month, the White House predicted in the President’s own budget proposal that the deficit would remain over $1 trillion each of the next four years.
These are the White House yearly deficit projections:
2019 - $1.092 trillion
2020 - $1.101 trillion
2021 - $1.068 trillion
2022 - $1.049 trillion
The deficit in 2018 was $779 billion.
In terms of interest being paid on the public debt, that was at $28 billion in February of 2019, up from $23 billion in the same month a year ago.
Trump Administration officials continue to argue that continued economic growth will change the dynamic on the deficit.
“An extra one percent of GDP growth per year means trillions of dollars of additional economic activity and more revenue to the government,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Congress earlier this month.
But so far, the extra GDP growth - at just under 3 percent for 2018 - has not triggered a revenue windfall for Uncle Sam, as revenues are slightly down so far in 2019.
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