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Budget deficit hits record $3 trillion

Figures for 11-month period more than double previous record

WASHINGTON — The U.S. budget deficit hit an all-time high of $3 trillion for the first 11 months of this budget year, the Treasury Department said Friday.

The ocean of red ink is a product of the government’s massive spending to try to cushion the impact of a coronavirus-fueled recession that has cost millions of jobs.

The deficit from October through August is more than double the previous 11-month record of $1.37 billion set in 2009. At that time the government was spending large sums to get out of the Great Recession triggered by the 2008 financial crisis.

With one month to go in the 2020 budget year, which ends Sept. 30, the deficit could go even higher. The Congressional Budget Office is forecasting the deficit this year will hit a record $3.3 trillion.

While the government has sometimes run surpluses in September, Nancy Vanden Houten, an economist at Oxford Economist, predicted the September deficit would hit $200 billion, giving the country a deficit for this budget year of $3.2 trillion.

That would be well above last year’s imbalance of $984 billion. The previous record deficit for a fiscal year was $1.4 trillion in 2009 in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Congress has passed a series of relief bills totaling nearly $3 trillion that provided support such as a $600-a-week boost in unemployment benefits, up to $1,200 in payments to individuals and aid for small businesses trying to retain their workers.

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