The federal budget deficit, the amount that the government spends beyond what it takes in each year, has passed $1 trillion in the first 11 months of the 2019 fiscal year. This is the highest that it's been since the end of the 2008 recession.
What happened now?
The Congressional Budget Office reported Monday that the deficit hit $1.067 trillion. This was "$168 billion more than the deficit recorded during the same period last year." Revenue actually increased during this time from by $102 billion over the previous year (due largely to increased wages and economic growth), but spending also increased by more than double this amount ($271 billion).
While the CBO still expects the total deficit for this fiscal year to drop to $960 billion (due to tax payments coming in next month), the White House estimated that it would reach $1.092 trillion, and remain at more than $1 trillion for every fiscal year until 2022.
The only other time in U.S. history that the deficit passed $1 trillion was between 2009 and 2012, when the federal government used bailouts and other measures to try to counter the effects of the 2008 recession. By 2013, the deficit had shrunk to $678 billion, and it continued to decrease from one year to the next throughout 2015 before rising slightly to $585 billion in 2016. The deficit has grown during every year of the Trump presidency.
The federal government has not had a budget surplus since 2001.
"Debt is on an unsustainable course in CBO's projections," the CBO wrote on Feb. 28. "To put it on a sustainable one, lawmakers will have to make significant changes to tax and spending policies—making revenues larger than they would be under current law, making spending for large benefit programs smaller than it would be under current law, or adopting some combination of those approaches."
Both President Donald Trump and Congress have approved significant increases in government spending compared to the Obama presidency.
The deficit for each fiscal year, combined with interest, adds to the national debt. This year, the national debt ($22.5 trillion) reached 110 percent of the gross domestic product — the largest percentage since the end of World War II. During the 2016 election, the debt was at $19.6 trillion.
Before he was elected, President Donald Trump had talked about reducing the national debt.