The federal government reported a $146.9 billion deficit in March, causing annual debt to rise 15% for the first half of the budget year compared to the same period in 2018.
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The Treasury Department said Wednesday in its monthly report that the fiscal year deficit has so far totaled $691 billion, up from nearly $600 billion in 2018. The Treasury Department expects that the deficit will exceed $1 trillion when the fiscal year ends in September.
Tax receipts are running slightly higher than a year ago as more Americans are working and paying taxes. But the tax cuts signed into law by President Donald Trump in 2017 have meant that the $10 billion increase in receipts has failed to keep pace with a roughly $100 billion increase in government expenditures.
The Congressional Budget Office was slightly more optimistic about the deficit in its January outlook, estimating that it would stay just below $1 trillion until 2022 when it would consistently stay above that total.
But even as the budget deficit has risen, interest rates have stayed relatively low in a sign that investors are comfortable with the borrowing. The 10-year Treasury rate was 2.47 percent through Wednesday afternoon trading, down from nearly 2.8 percent a year ago.