Deficit spikes 41 percent in first quarter of fiscal year

The federal deficit spiked $92 billion in the first quarter of the 2019 fiscal year, a 41-percent increase over the same period of 2018, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
 
The GOP tax plan slashed revenues relative to spending, which increased as part of a bipartisan spending deal. Total receipts rose by less than 1 percent, shrinking as an overall share of the economy. Corporate taxes, in particular, plunged $9 billion, or 15 percent. 
 
Outlays, in the meantime, spiked $93 billion, or 9 percent.
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Mandatory programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid were also major contributors to the deficit, accounting for a combined $17 billion of the increased spending.
 
According to CBO, the level of the deficit spike is somewhat overstated because payments were not made at the same time because the last fiscal year started on a weekend. If the payment dates had been aligned, spending would have been $49 billion lower, and the deficit would have risen $47 billion, or 21 percent. 
 
That spike remains significant. CBO has projected that the nation's debt load will hit 96 percent by 2028 if there are no policy changes.
 
Notably, interest payments to service the existing debt surpassed $100 billion. The price tag increased by 19 percent over the same period last year in part because interest rates were higher, but also because the overall debt had risen.
 
The White House estimates that the federal deficit will surpass $1 trillion this fiscal year, which runs through September 30.
 
9:52 p.m.