Even as the United States is reportedly getting close to striking a deal on trade with China which would potentially bring an end to the seven month old acrimonious trade war, latest figures from the U.S. Treasury Department released on Tuesday shows that the country had attained a budget surplus of 8.7 billion U.S. dollars in January. That number was however lower by 40.5 billion dollars, or 82 per cent, compared to the same period a year ago.
The US department said that there was a 77 per cent increase in the total deficit in the first four months of the fiscal year 2019, which was recorded ay 310.3 billion dollars, compared ot the same period a year ago.
The country reported that the total outlays in January were 331.3 billion dollars which was 6.3 per cent more compared to the same period a year ago while the total revenues were down by 5.8 per cent year-on-year at 340.0 billion dollars.
86 billion dollars on social security, 52 billion dollars on national defense and 51 billion dollars on Medicare were the top three outlays for the month.
This data and report was published by the US Treasury Department at a delay of about a few weeks than the scheduled data because of the 35-day partial federal government shutdown that came to an end in late January.
The federal budget deficit is about to reach 900 billion dollars in 2019, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate that was made in January. The same estimation pegged the deficit to touch more than a trillion dollars every year starting in 2022.
According to the CBO, it has also been projected that that growth in the public debt would be steady because of the consistently large deficits and it would reach a total of 93 per cent of U.S. GDP in 2029 and then would go on to touch about 150 percent of U.S. GDP in 2049.
It is a fact that is “widely agreed” that the debt of the federal government is on an unsustainable path, said U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell last week.
“It is past time to get the country’s fiscal house in order,” Stephen Ellis, executive vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan budget watchdog, told the media on an earlier occasion. “We don’t need to eliminate deficits and pay off the debt, we need to slow their growth and reduce them as a percentage of GDP.”
(Adapted from XinhuaNet.com)