• The deficit for March was lower than March 2019, but that largely was the result of the fact that March began during the weekend, shifting some payments to February
  • The U.S. debt stood at $24.22 trillion, up $2 trillion from a year earlier
  • U.S. tax receipts are expected to take a dive this year as outlays for safety net programs increase

The federal budget deficit for the first half of fiscal 2020 stood at $741 billion, about $50 billion higher than the previous year, the Congressional Budget Office reported Friday. The total is expected to pale in the face of the second half of the year, which will take into account spending to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. deficit was on track to exceed $1 trillion before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Projections now approach $4 trillion with analysts revising their outlooks constantly. With the economy shut down and at least 10% of Americans out of work, federal tax revenues are expected to take a nosedive at the same time spending increases on safety net programs.

The total U.S. debt through Friday totaled $24.22 trillion, an increase of $2 trillion from April 10, 2019.

The estimated deficit for March was $117 billion, $30 billion less than the $147 billion deficit recorded in March 2019, largely because of timing shifts of certain payments since the month began during a weekend. The actual deficit for February was $235 billion.

Receipts were up $97 billion for the first six months to $1.6 trillion. Receipts were expected to fall markedly in April since the tax deadline was pushed to July 15.

Social Security taxes were up by $80 billion (6%) for the period while corporate taxes rose by a net $13 billion (20%).

Outlays were up 7% to $2.3 trillion, $147 billion higher than the year ago period, with Social Security rising $27 billion, Medicare up $20 billion and Medicaid increasing $10 billion. Defense spending rose $22 billion while payments from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were $11 billion less.

Outlays for net interest on the public debt was up $10 billion, a 5% increase, largely because of the increase in debt.