This article was originally published in Xinhua News on March 6, 2019
WASHINGTON, March 5 (Xinhua) — The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday reported a budget surplus of 8.7 billion U.S. dollars in January, down 40.5 billion dollars, or 82 percent, from the same month a year ago.
The total deficit in the first four months of the fiscal year 2019 recorded 310.3 billion dollars, up 77 percent from the same period one year before, the department said.
Total outlays in January were 331.3 billion dollars, up by 6.3 percent from the year before, and total revenues were 340.0 billion dollars, down by 5.8 percent.
The top three outlays for the month were 86 billion dollars on social security, 52 billion dollars on national defense and 51 billion dollars on Medicare.
The data was released a few weeks behind schedule due to the 35-day partial federal government shutdown which ended in late January.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated in January that federal budget deficit is about to reach 900 billion dollars in 2019 and will exceed 1 trillion dollars each year beginning in 2022.
Because of persistently large deficits, the public debt is projected to grow steadily, reaching 93 percent of U.S. GDP in 2029 and about 150 percent of U.S. GDP in 2049, according to the CBO.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said last week that it’s a “widely agreed” fact that the federal government debt is on an unsustainable path.
“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 Xinhua earlier. “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.”