The United States is on track for the second biggest budget shortfall in history, the Associated Press reported. The current deficit for the first nine months of this budget year hit $2.24 trillion, just behind 2020’s record of $3.1 trillion.
The Treasury Department said Tuesday in its monthly budget report that the deficit for the budget year that ends in September is running a little over 9% below last year’s pace.
Previous to the coronavirus pandemic, the record deficit occurred in 2009 of $1.4 trillion as a result of the 2008 recession.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that this year’s deficit will total a slightly smaller $3 trillion. The deficits in both years were bloated by the multitrillion-dollar spending packages the government has passed to combat the economic downturns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
So far this fiscal year, government receipts have totaled $3.06 trillion, up 35.2% from the same period a year ago. The number for last year was pushed downward by the fact that various tax deadlines were delayed, so revenue collections were lower because payments came in after June.
Spending in the October-June period totaled $5.29 trillion, up 5.8% from the same period last year.
For the month of June, the deficit totaled $174.2 billion, 79.8% lower than the June 2020 deficit of $864.1 billion, which was record high for any month.
The huge June 2020 deficit included $511 billion spent by the Small Business Administration, primarily for its Paycheck Protection Program of forgivable loans made to small businesses. By contrast, that spending category totaled just $31 billion in June of this year.
After the slight drop in the deficit this fiscal year, the CBO is projecting a further improvement to a $1.15 trillion shortfall next year.
However, those forecasts do not take into account the multitrillion-dollar infrastructure spending measures President Joe Biden is pushing to get Congress to approve. In his own budget, Biden is projecting the deficit will hit $3.7 trillion this year and will never dip below $1 trillion over the next decade.