The U.S. budget deficit expanded to an estimated $782 billion in Donald Trump’s first full fiscal year as president, which would be the widest fiscal gap since 2012 when the country was still emerging from the 2007-09 recession.
The Congressional Budget Office expects the Treasury Department to report a September budget surplus of $116 billion this week, which would subtract from the deficit of $898 billion reported in the October-through-August period. The CBO published the estimate late Friday as part of its monthly budget review.
That compares to the previous fiscal year’s gap of $666 billion. The fiscal 2018 deficit would have been $826 billion had outlays not been affected by shifts in the timing of certain payments, the CBO said. The government’s fiscal year runs Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.
The 2018 deficit was equal to an estimated 3.9 percent of gross domestic product, up from 3.5 percent the previous fiscal year. Government revenue was about the same as the previous year while outlays rose about 3 percent, the CBO said.
The budget deficit has continued to climb in recent years, raising concerns that the country’s debt load, now exceeding $21.5 trillion, is growing out of control. The Treasury reported Thursday that the government paid $523 billion in interest in fiscal 2018, the most on record.
A combination of Republican tax cuts, increased federal spending and an aging population are adding to budget strains, though the GOP says the new tax law will spur economic growth and lift tax revenue.