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Economy in Brief

U.S. Budget Surplus Shrinkage Reflects Strong Health Program Spending
by Tom Moeller  January 13, 2015

The Federal Government reported a $1.9 billion budget surplus during December compared to a $53.2 billion surplus during December of 2014. For the first three months of Fiscal Year 2015, the deficit of $176.7 billion compares to a $172.6 billion deficit in the first three months of FY 2014. For FY 2015, the Congressional Budget Office projects the budget deficit will total $469 billion compared to $483.4 billion last year, then rise to $556 billion in FY 2016

The slightly increased deficit so far this fiscal year versus FY'14 occurred as outlays rose 9.2% y/y. A 24.2% surge in spending on health programs powered the increase. Medicare spending also rose a quickened 9.8% y/y and Social Security payments gained a stable 4.3%. National defense outlays slipped just 0.2% y/y and income security payments fell 5.1% y/y. Spending on education, training & social services increased 7.3% y/y while veterans benefits rose 7.0%. Net interest spending rose a stronger 6.1% y/y and Social Security spending increased a stable 4.3% y/y.

Net revenues so far in FY 2015 strengthened 11.0% y/y as corporate income taxes surged 40.1% y/y. Individual income taxes rose a quickened 10.2% y/y and social insurance taxes gained a decelerated 1.5%. Excise taxes increased a stable 2.8% y/y.

Higher Education, Wages, and Polarization from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here.

Haver's basic data on Federal Government outlays and receipts are contained in USECON. Considerable detail is given in the separate GOVFIN database.

 US Government Finance Dec FY'14 FY'13 FY'12 FY'11
Budget Balance -- $1.9 bil. $-483.4 bil. $-680.2 bil. $-1,089.2 bil. $-1,296.8 bil.
  As a percent of GDP -- 2.8 4.1 6.8 8.4
% of Total FY'15 YTD
Net Revenues (Y/Y % Change) 100 11.0% 8.9% 13.3% 6.4% 6.5%
  Individual Income Taxes 47 10.2 5.9 16.3 3.7 21.5
  Corporate Income Taxes 10 40.1 17.3 12.9 33.8 -5.4
  Social Insurance Taxes 34 1.5 8.0 12.1 3.2 -5.3
  Excise Taxes 3 2.8 11.1 6.3 9.2 8.2
Net Outlays (Y/Y % Change) 100 9.2 1.4 -2.4 -1.7 4.1
  National Defense 18 -0.2 -4.7 -6.3 -3.9 1.7
  Health 10 24.2 14.2 3.1 -7.0 1.0
  Medicare 14 9.8 2.8 5.5 -2.8 7.5
  Income Security 16 -5.1 -4.3 -1.1 -9.1 -4.1
  Social Security 24 4.3 4.6 5.2 5.8 3.4
  Veterans Benefits 4 7.0 7.7 11.5 -2.0 17.3
  Education, Training, Employment & Social Services 3 7.3 25.9 -21.9 -10.3 -20.6
  Interest 6 6.1 3.0 0.4 -3.0 15.8
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