US budget deficit totals $743.6 billion over past 6 months

Photo Source: Max Pixel / CC0 1.0 / MGN
Photo Source: Max Pixel / CC0 1.0 / MGN(KALB)
Published: Apr. 10, 2020 at 5:51 PM EDT
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The federal government's budget deficit for the first half of this budget year totaled $743.6 billion, up 7.6% from last year, and well on its way to topping $1 trillion even before the impacts of the coronavirus were felt.

The Treasury Department reported Friday that the deficit from October, the start of the government's budget year, through March was $52.5 billion higher than the same period a year ago.

The Trump administration and the Congressional Budget Office were already forecasting that this year's deficit would top $1 trillion for the first time since 2012. But now with a $2.2 trillion rescue package approved by Congress and government spending expected to rise sharply, private economists are estimating that this year's deficit could well exceed $2 trillion.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, said that he expects the deficit to hit $2.5 trillion this year and also next year. Previously, the highest deficits in dollar terms occurred in a four-year stretch from 2009 through 2012 when the government was spending billions of dollars to pull the country out of the deepest downturn since the Great Recession, a slump triggered by the 2008 financial crisis.