U.S. Budget Deficit Falls Under $1 Trillion; Lowest Since 2008

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from NPR,

The U.S. government ran a deficit of $680 billion in the financial year that ended last month — the first time since 2008 that the annual shortfall has been under $1 trillion. It represents a fall from $1.09 trillion in 2012, but as the AP reports, “It’s still the fifth-largest deficit of all time.”

The Treasury Department announced the news along with the White House budget office Wednesday.

“Under President Obama, the nation’s deficit has fallen for the past four years,” Treasury Secretary Lew said. “It is now less than half of what it was when the president took office.”

From the White House, NPR’s Tamara Keith reports for our Newscast unit:

The higher revenue comes from a stronger economy and tax changes agreed to as part of the fiscal cliff deal. The savings come from the automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester, fewer people using food stamps, and the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, among other things.

If you’re wondering how to interpret the numbers — or just how to talk about them in a casual, yet politically charged, setting — The Atlantic is offering its help, with its “Your guide to arguing about it” feature.

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