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US budget deficit rises 23 percent; largest for May since 2009

President Donald Trump looks over the paperwork on April 21, 2017, before signing financial services executive orders and memorandums at the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, D.C. The Trump administration has cut taxes, but has not cut spending to match the decrease in revenue. This has led to an increase in the budget deficit. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

In May, the U.S. federal government had the largest deficit for that month in any year since 2009. The deficit for that month reached $146.8 billion.

From Oct. 1 (when this fiscal year started) through the end of May, the deficit totaled $532.24 billion, a 23 percent increase from last year’s $432.9 billion deficit.

What are the details?

A budget deficit occurs when the government spends more money than it brings in. Under the Trump administration, the federal government has cut taxes, but has not cut spending to match the decrease in revenue.

In fact, spending for the month of May had increased by 10.7 percent to $363.9 billion, up 66 percent from an $88 billion deficit in May 2017. At the same time, the amount of revenue raised by the federal government for that month fell by 9.7 percent to $217.1 billion.

Overall, since the beginning of October, revenue has actually increased to $2.22 trillion (up 2.6 percent). However, at the same time, spending has grown to $2.76 trillion (up 5.9 percent).

According to Bloomberg, budgetary measures (tax reform and spending) approved by President Donald Trump could increase the deficit to $804 billion by the end of this fiscal year. Using these calculations, the deficit would pass $1 trillion by 2020.

The White House has said that increased revenue from a growing economy should offset the decrease from lower taxes and will eventually surpass the pre-tax cut revenue.

The budget deficit in May 2017 was also up compared to a $52 billion deficit in May 2016.

Where did the money go?

According to a report from the Congressional Budget Office, spending for several major programs increased substantially over the past year.

From May 2017 to May 2018, spending on Social Security benefits rose by 5 percent (an increase of $4 billion), Medicaid benefits rose by 12 percent (another $4 billion), and military spending for the Defense Department rose by 7 percent ($3 billion), just to name a few.

The report also noted that net interest on public debt rose by 26 percent (an increase of $7 billion).

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