Deficit below $1T for first time in 5 years
WASHINGTON — For the first time in five years, the government has run a budget deficit below $1 trillion.
The government said on Wednesday that the deficit for the 2013 budget year totaled $680.3 billion, down from $1.09 trillion in 2012. That's the smallest imbalance since 2008, when the government ran a $458.6 billion deficit. It's still the fifth-largest deficit of all time.
The deficit is the gap between the government's tax revenue and its spending. It narrowed for the budget year that ended on Sept. 30 because revenue rose while spending fell. Revenue jumped 13.3 percent to $2.77 trillion. Government spending declined 2.4 percent to $3.45 trillion.
A stronger economy generated more jobs and income during the past year, which generated greater tax revenue. At the same time, the Obama administration and Congress agreed in January to end a temporary cut in Social Security taxes and also to raise income taxes on the wealthy.
The Obama administration stressed in announcing the 2013 results that the government is succeeding in reducing the deficit from record levels.
“It is now less than half of what it was when the president took office,” Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in a statement.
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