The federal budget deficit rose 22% in October to $120 billion, compared to the same period last year. Most analysts believe that the figure makes it almost certain that the annual deficit will be more than $1 trillion in the government’s current fiscal year. This should scare most politicians into finding a solution to the fiscal cliff dilemma. It certainly has frightened the labor and business leaders who visited the president to express concerns and offer solutions. Some large companies went so far as to say that layoffs were inevitable if no solutions are approved before year’s end.
Tax revenue increased to $184.3 billion — 13 percent greater than the same month last year. Still, spending also rose to $304.3 billion, a 16.4 percent jump. The budget year begins on Oct. 1. Officials said last year’s figures were held down by a quirk in the calendar: the first day of October fell on a Saturday, which resulted in some benefits being paid in September 2011.
Douglas A. McIntyre