Nearly half of every dollar the Federal government has spent since the beginning of the 2013 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, has been borrowed, according to the latest data from the Congressional Budget Office released on Friday.
In just the first two months of the fiscal year, the Federal government racked up a deficit of $292 billion, borrowing 46 cents on every dollar it has spent. The government has spent $638 since October and managed to bring in only $346 billion in revenues despite tax revenues being up $30 billion, about 10 percent higher than they were last year.
Spending is up even more. The government has spent an outstanding $87 billion more than it had at this time last year, according to the CBO report; that’s 14 percent higher than it was in fiscal 2012. The budget watchers contend, however, that the higher spending is a result of timing of month-to-month payments.
Taking that into account, the government said that the overall deficit is actually $8 billion lower this year.
The biggest budgetary problem spots, not surprisingly, are related to mandatory expenditures on Social Security, Medicare and interest on already accumulated government debt. These also continue to be major points of contention among Republican and Democratic lawmakers as the fiscal cliff negotiations trudge on.
The CBO says the following about those increases:
- Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—Expenditures for each of the three largest entitlement programs were higher, with outlays for Social Security benefits increasing the most—by $8 billion (or 7 percent). Spending for Medicare rose by $6 billion (or 8 percent) and outlays for Medicaid rose by $4 billion (or 9 percent).
- Other Activities—Expenditures in this broad category increased by $7 billion (or 4 percent). Spending increased for the Departments of Agriculture and Justice and for several other programs.
- Net interest—Outlays for net interest on the public debt were $2 billion (or 5 percent) higher, reflecting both the growing debt held by the public and higher payments for inflation-indexed securities.
Meanwhile, the CBO reported a decrease in government spending on unemployment benefits (down by $4 billion) and defense spending (down by $2 billion) from the same period last year.