Deficit already at $292 billion for fiscal 2013

The federal budget deficit has reached $292 billion just two months into fiscal 2013, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Friday.

That is a fast start for a fiscal year that CBO already predicted will have a deficit of more than $1 trillion — the fifth year in a row that has happened, all under President Obama.

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The deficit was $172 billion in November, CBO estimates.

For October and November, the deficit is $57 billion more than the deficit for the first two months of fiscal 2012. The fiscal year for the federal government begins in October.

A large portion of this results from the shifts in payments due to the timing of weekends. If not for timing, the deficit for this year is actually $8 billion lower.

Despite all the battles between President Obama and Congress over the last two years on the budget, spending is 4 percent higher — or $22 billion — this year compared to 2012, even with timing shifts taken into account.

Social Security is up 8 percent, Medicare by 8 percent and Medicaid by 9 percent. Interest payments are up 5 percent. 

In contrast, the costs of unemployment benefits are 22 percent lower and defense spending is 2 percent less, CBO estimates.

Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said the figures highlight the inadequacy of President Obama's proposal to reduce the deficit in the fiscal cliff talks.

"Deficit totals are higher than last year and confirm predictions for yet another trillion-dollar deficit. The proposed solution from Secretary Geithner is to increases taxes $1.6 trillion and increase spending growth by $1.2 trillion. In other words, hike taxes to pay for new spending. The result is adding $8.6 trillion in new debt over 10 years, instead of $9 trillion," he said.

The new deficit numbers come as Obama and Congress are wrangling over $600 billion in deficit cuts slated for January. Those sudden tax increases and spending cuts would do a lot to lower the 2013 deficit but would bring on a recession, CBO says. CBO has urged lawmakers to find a long-term grand bargain to get the deficits and debt under control.

Updated at 3:31 p.m.