by Bethany Blankley
The federal deficit in the first three months of the budget year is 60.7 percent higher than over the same time period as last year, a record-breaking $572.9 billion.
The deficit surged as a result of Congressional spending of $3.5 trillion in 2020 in response to the coronavirus, although critics note that spending on pork barrel programs that had nothing to do with the virus increased and also drove the deficit. At the same time, revenue declined because of ongoing state lockdowns.
The Treasury Department reports that the deficit is $216.3 billion higher than the same October-December period in 2019.
A record in spending for the period represented an 18.3 percent increase of $1.38 trillion, while at the same time revenues fell 0.4 percent to $803.37 billion.
In the month of December alone, when Congress passed, and President Donald Trump signed, several spending bills, the deficit reached a record $143.6 billion.
The shortfall for the 2020 budget year, which ended Sept. 30, reached an all-time high of $3.1 trillion.
Due to ongoing state lockdowns, millions of Americans are still out of work, and tax revenues also dropped, while at the same time, the demand by states for federal financial support dramatically increased.
The Treasury reports that outlays in December were a record $489.7 billion; receipts were $346.1 billion.
The December total excludes the $900 billion COVID-19 spending bill, which included $600 payments to individuals, extended unemployment benefit programs, and directed hundreds of millions of dollars to programs overseas, about which critics also complained.
From October to December 2020, unemployment benefits totaled $80 billion. During the same time period last year, they totaled $5 billion.
Prior to the $900 billion spending bill, the Congressional Budget Office forecast that 2021’s deficit will total $1.8 trillion, and remain above $1 trillion every year through 2030.
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Bethany Blankley is a contributor to The Center Square.