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CBO – US budget deficit hits record $3 trillion

Congressional Budget Office, September 8, 2020: “The federal budget deficit in August 2020 was $198 billion, CBO estimates, $3 billion less than the deficit in August of last year. However, that comparison is distorted by shifts in the timing of certain payments in both years that had opposite effects on the August deficit in their respective years. Because September 1, 2019, fell on a weekend, federal payments totaling about $52 billion were made in August rather than in September of that year (increasing the deficit in August). A similar shift, of $57 billion, occurred this year, but from August into July, reducing the August 2020 deficit. Without those timing shifts, the deficit this August would have been $106 billion (or 72 percent) larger than in the same month last year. Outlays for unemployment compensation contributed significantly to the deficit this August, accounting for about half of the increase in government spending (excluding the timing shifts). The cumulative federal budget deficit for the first 11 months of fiscal year 2020 was $3.0 trillion, CBO estimates, $1.9 trillion more than the deficit recorded for the same period last year. Revenues were 1 percent lower and outlays were 46 percent higher through August 2020 than in the same 11-month period in fiscal year 2019. CBO projects that the 2020 deficit will total $3.3 trillion. At 16.0 percent of gross domestic product, that would be the largest shortfall relative to the size of the economy since 1945…”

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