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Federal Deficit Totaled $666 Billion in Fiscal Year 2017

by Countable | 10.20.17

What’s the story?

The Treasury Department announced Friday that for the 2017 fiscal year, the federal government ran a $666 billion deficit. Last fiscal year’s deficit is the sixth largest in U.S. history and was about $80 billion larger than 2016’s $585 billion deficit, although it could’ve been worse — the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had projected 2017’s deficit to total $693 billion as of late June.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said of the deficit:

"Today's budget results underscore the importance of achieving robust and sustained economic growth. Through a combination of tax reform and regulatory relief, this country can return to higher levels of GDP growth, helping to erase our fiscal deficit."

Why does it matter?

The federal government hasn’t had a balanced budget since the 2001 fiscal year, and the national debt now exceeds $20 trillion for the first time in American history — an amount rivalling the size of the U.S. economy.

Excessive debt can cause a debt spiral, in which bond markets lose confidence in a government’s ability to repay its debt and charge higher interest rates on that debt, thereby worsening the government’s problem as it becomes more costly to service its debt.

Servicing the national debt is becoming an increasingly costly endeavor for the federal government. In 2016, interest payments on the national debt totalled $241 billion, and while the total for fiscal year 2017 isn’t immediately available the CBO projected that figure to rise by 12 percent from 2016 — which would put the total at $270 billion.

What do you think?

Does more need to be done to rein in deficits and reduce the national debt? Are deficits acceptable as long as the spending goes to important government functions? Use the Take Action button to tell your reps and share your thoughts in the comments below.

— Eric Revell

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(Photo Credit: zimmytws / iStock)

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(133)
  • James
    10/20/2017
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    And yet the so called fiscal conservative Republicans are supporting huge tax cuts for the wealthy, eliminating the estate tax, making easier for large corporations to evade taxes, all leading to a ballooning of the debt and deficit. Sick, immoral and unethical douche bags!!!!! Sick!

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  • Priscilla
    10/21/2017
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    $666 billion huh? Well, they do say the devil’s in the details.

    Like (92)
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  • Clay
    10/20/2017
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    666 eh?

    Like (48)
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  • Sean
    10/21/2017
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    The Senate budget adds 1.5 trillion to the deficit. It’s all about more money for war and huge tax cuts for the richest and big corporations. Republicans have zero morals. That’s moral insanity.

    Like (45)
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  • KansasTamale
    10/21/2017
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    My question is : How are the Republicans planning to cover all their expenses - wall, 3 wars, plus all the military expenses in places like Niger, 7 disasters which are not being taken card of, and all the expenses the Trump family are costing the country with this horrible deficit AND LOWER TAXES ON THE RICH??? This experiment did not work in Kansas the last 6 years, we were almost bankrupted by Brownback & Kobach, SO WHY WOULD IT WORK IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. IT WON’T W0RK!!!!

    Like (36)
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  • denali
    10/21/2017
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    So for years the GOP has been screaming about the debt. Now since the Koch Brothers are telling them not to worry about it, the Koch puppets are following their masters. Hypocrisy at its finest.

    Like (18)
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  • Chimmy
    10/21/2017
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    And it will only get worse from here. After the Tax Scam passed, we will have nothing to offset spending millions on Trump properties.

    Like (17)
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  • Sarah
    10/21/2017
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    Not surprising since Trump is the human form of Lucifer. #ITMFA

    Like (16)
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  • RadicalModerate
    10/20/2017
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    Free market capitalism has failed most of us materially and some of us morally. Stop fractional reserve lending.

    Like (15)
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  • Gerry
    10/21/2017
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    The easy political solution is to cut taxes, which benefits the wealthy, and eliminate regulations to the detriment of us all. The difficult solution would’ve to raise taxes to fund programs that benefit the common good and strengthen regulations that protects our environment and our future.

    Like (13)
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  • Judith
    10/21/2017
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    THE FASIST REPUBLIMORONS THINK IT IS OBAMAS FAULT !! NO!! REPUBLIMORONS,IT IS THE FACT THAT YOUR BUSH LEFT THE ECONOMY ON THE EDGE OF GLOBAL DEPRESSION FROM HIS WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION LIE THAT GOT US INTO A WAR KILLING MILLIONS OF INNOCENT PEOPLE THEN HE DIDN'T ACCOUNT FOR THE WAR COST IN THE NATION'S BOOK KEEPING !!! DUH !!

    Like (12)
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  • Natalie
    10/21/2017
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    Please address the deficit by cutting pentagon and defense spending. Do not allow the budget to be balanced on the backs of the poor with cuts to essential social programs.

    Like (10)
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  • Christopher
    10/21/2017
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    How much of that is attributed to presidential golfing and family trips?

    Like (9)
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  • Eileen
    10/21/2017
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    If the debt is so high and the economy is doing well then why cut taxes for the wealthy. Increase taxes and maintain services. The military should be audited before the budgeted increase is made final.

    Like (7)
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  • Stickyfingers
    10/21/2017
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    Well the fascist liberals can blame most of our debt on Obama. He spent more money than all US Presidents combined. Remember he also gave Iran 4 billion in cash without the American public’s knowledge as well. That money could have been used on the Wall or healthcare.

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  • Chuck
    10/21/2017
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    And the deficit will explode once the tax cuts for the wealthy kick in. Of course republicans will try to cut spending that helps lower and middle income people but hey wealthy donors will keep the money flowing for republicans.

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  • Marcia
    10/21/2017
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    A tax cut for the very rich - who can afford to pay higher taxes -would only increase the National debt. We all know that trickle-down theory does not work and never has. Take a long look at history and make decisions that are sound!

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  • Sharon
    10/21/2017
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    $666 billion.. isn't that (the 666) number of the antichrist? So, I'm going to guess this current congress, that is ruled by REPUBLUCANS, is the Congress if the antichrist. Ah, well, we always knew this would be the way.

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  • Donald
    10/21/2017
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    Solve the problem... Tax the wealthy more heavily... They benefit most of all from our country and should pay a premium for this privilege...

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  • Grant
    10/21/2017
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    If there is a hell we are already there

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