The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday February 2nd

Federal budget deficit less than last year’s shortfall

WASHINGTON, D.C. (MCT) — The U.S. government ran a deficit of $86 billion in December, the Treasury Department report- ed Thursday, pushing the federal budget shortfall to $322 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2012.

The December monthly deficit was $8 billion higher compared to the same month in 2010.

The fiscal year deficit to date, however, showed an improve- ment, falling by $47 billion com- pared to the first quarter of fiscal 2011.

Receipts were $240 billion in December, compared to spending of $326 billion by the government in the month.

The monthly numbers arrive in the thick of the presidential cam- paign and as Congress prepares to return to Washington. Deficit reduction has been high on the White House’s and Congress’s to-do list, but last year saw the implosion of the 12-member supercommittee of lawmakers tasked with planning budget cuts. As a result, more than $1 trillion in automatic, across-the-board cuts are due to kick in beginning in January 2013.

President Barack Obama may make new deficit-reduction proposals in February, when he unveils his fiscal 2013 budget.

The economy and deficit reduction are set to be key themes in the presidential race. The national debt recently topped $15 trillion, and Republicans vying for their party’s nomination have made the debt and unemploy- ment themes of their campaigns.

The monthly deficit number was about in line with an estimate of $84 billion reported by the Congressional Budget Office ear- lier this week.

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