US budget deficit declines to lowest level in five years

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The US federal budget deficit declined to $162.8 billion in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, the lowest level in five years, the Treasury Department reported Thursday.

Data released by the Treasury showed that the budget deficit for the 2007 budget year was 34.4% lower than the red ink of $248.2 billion in 2006. For this entire fiscal year, the government’s revenue hit a record of $2.57 trillion, while its spending also set an all-time high of $2.73 trillion.

“This year’s budget results demonstrate the remarkable strength of the US economy,” said Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson. “This strength has translated into record-breaking revenues flowing into the US Treasury and a continued decline in the federal budget deficit.”

“Our short-term budget outlook is improving, but beyond the horizon is a huge budgetary challenge: the unsustainable growth in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,” warned White House budget director Jim Nussle.

The US government budget deficit set a record of $413 billion in 2004. In the budget sent Congress in February for 2008, the Bush administration projected the government could eliminate the deficit completely and return to a surplus by 2012. The federal budget boasted a surplus for four years, from 1998 through 2001. (people.com.cn)

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