Late Friday afternoon, the Treasury Department published the official report on the U.S. budget deficit for the most recent fiscal year: $1.089 trillion. While that’s obviously still a very large budget shortfall, the deficit is $200 billion smaller than it was last year, and is nearly $300 billion smaller than when President Obama took office.
To add a little historical context to this, over the last four decades, only two presidents have reduced the deficit this much, this quickly: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
As the job market improves and unemployment falls, one of the central attacks from Romney/Ryan against President Obama has to do with the deficit. The attack overlooks Paul Ryan’s role in creating the massive deficit, the inconvenient fact that Romney hasn’t presented a deficit-reduction plan, and the problem that the Romney/Ryan agenda would appear to make the deficit significantly worse, but that’s their story and they’re sticking to it.
It’s worth noting, then, that as of today, the U.S. federal budget deficit has shrunk — a lot.
I put together this new chart reflecting the deficit over the course of the last four years. It starts with the figures released in 2009, when the deficit reached a record high of $1.4 trillion. Why is the column in red? Because, thanks to fiscal years, Obama inherited a deficit of nearly $1.3 trillion from Bush/Cheney the moment he took the oath of office.
This year, however, according to the official data published by the Treasury Department, the deficit was $1.089 trillion.
- U.S. budget deficit shrinks by over $200 billion, reaches 4-year low (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- Federal deficit cut, but tops $1 trillion for 4th year (bottomline.nbcnews.com)
- The wrong issue for the wrong candidate (maddowblog.msnbc.com)