US government records $146.8 billion May deficit

FILE- In this May 30, 2018, file photo the East Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington is seen under stormy skies. On Tuesday, June 12, the Treasury Department releases federal budget data for May. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON — The federal government recorded a budget deficit of $146.8 billion in May, helping push the total deficit so far this year 23 percent above the same period a year ago.

Last month's deficit followed a surplus of $214.3 billion in April, a month that traditionally ends in the black because of the federal income tax filing deadline.

The Treasury Department reported Tuesday that the deficit for the first eight months of this budget year, which began on Oct. 1, totals $532.2 billion. That's up by $99.4 billion from the $432.9 billion imbalance run up during the same period last year.

The deficit increase reflects in part the impact of the $1.5 trillion tax cut that President Donald Trump pushed through Congress in December.

The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that the deficit for this year will hit $804 billion, up $138 billion from last year's deficit of $665.8 billion. And the CBO sees annual deficits rising past the $1 trillion mark under the impact of the 10-year tax cut passed last year, coupled with rising costs for Social Security and Medicare as more baby boomers reach retirement age.

In a report last week, the trustees for Social Security and Medicare projected that $416 billion will need to be transferred from the government's general revenues to pay benefits this year. It will mark the first time Social Security has had to rely on general revenue funds since the Reagan era.

The Treasury's monthly budget report showed that, through the first eight months of this budget year, government revenues total $2.22 trillion, up 2.6 percent from the same period a year ago. Government outlays total $2.76 trillion, up a much larger 6 percent from the same period a year ago.

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