The US budget deficit fell to about $US483 billion in fiscal year 2014, almost a $US200 billion drop from the previous year and the lowest level of President Barack Obama’s six years in office.
The US Treasury Department released the official figures on Wednesday, generally confirming figures released by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office last week. It’s the smallest deficit recorded since 2008.
FY2014 was the fifth consecutive year the deficit declined as a percentage of GDP. It is now an estimated 2.8% of GDP, a percentage that puts it below the average of the past 40 years. The Treasury’s figures chalked up the shrinking deficit to increased revenues from taxes and slowed growth in government spending.
“It’s really a rise in revenues because of economic growth, because of the policies the president pursued, that we’ve made progress on the deficit,” said Shaun Donovan, the director of the Office of Management and Budget.
The deficit has fallen sharply over the past few years, despite constant brinksmanship in Washington over raising the US debt ceiling. But concern about deficits has virtually disappeared from the campaign trail ahead of the 2014 midterm elections after being a central theme of 2010’s elections.
“Politicians campaigning this fall have rarely raised the subject, not to mention the difficult prescriptions that are required to deal with red ink,” said Greg Valliere, the chief political strategist at Potomac Research Group, in a recent note. “No one wants to talk about the deficit.”
A Treasury official told reporters on Wednesday that Obama will unveil his fiscal-year 2016 budget next February. The official said it will include a plan to undo some of the cuts contained in sequestration.
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