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News Link • Government Debt & Financing

US deficit up 15.7% in first half of fiscal 2011

The US budget deficit shot up 15.7 percent in the first six months of fiscal 2011, the Treasury Department said Wednesday as political knives were being sharpened for a new budget battle. The Treasury reported a deficit of $829 billion for the October-March period, compared with $717 billion a year earlier, as revenue rose a sluggish 6.9 percent as the economic recovery slowly gained pace. The Treasury argued that the pace of increase in the deficit was deceptive because of large one-off reductions in expenditures made during the first half of fiscal 2010, compared with previous and subsequent periods. Those included a $115 billion reduction in funds spent on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) -- the financial institution bailout program -- in March 2010. But 2011 so far has also seen significant increases in spending on defense, Social Security, health and debt service, while receipts have not grown as fast.

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