Boring but important
2017 budget deficit was sixth highest
The federal budget deficit hit $666_billion for fiscal year 2017—the sixth highest on record. The budget shortfall for the year that ended Sept._30 was $80_billion higher than 2016’s, an increase of 14_percent. Federal tax receipts reached a record high $3.3_trillion, due to improved economic growth. But government outlays also hit a record $4_trillion, up 3_percent, thanks largely to increased spending on Social Security and health programs Medicare and Medicaid, and higher interest pa yments on the national debt. “These numbers should serve as a smoke alarm for Washington, a reminder that we need to grow our economy again and get our fiscal house in order,” said White House budget director Mick Mulvaney.