The U.S. federal government registered a 1.299 trillion U.S. dollars budget deficit for the 2011 fiscal year ending September, fresh evidence of the mounting budgetary pressure facing the world's largest economy, the Treasury Department reported on Friday.
The budget deficit for the 2011 fiscal year was the second highest in history. It's slightly higher than the previous budget year's 1.29 trillion dollars deficit, and below the 1.41 trillion dollars budget deficit record set in the 2009 fiscal year amid financial crisis woes.
For September alone, the U.S. federal government reported a budget deficit of 64.57 billion dollars, said the Treasury. The U. S. federal government raked in a revenue of 240.15 billion dollars last month, and registered outlays of 304.72 billion dollars.
"This report confirms that we cannot waste any time in jumpstarting economic growth and job creation to lay the foundation for a stronger economy and lower future deficits," White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Jacob Lew said in a joint statement with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on the heels of the releasing of this report.
The budget deficit for the 2011 fiscal year translated into 8.7 percent of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP), slightly lower than last fiscal year's 9 percent.
The slight up-tick in the budget deficit from last year was due to higher outlays that were nearly offset by rising receipts, said the Treasury.
U.S. government receipts totaled 2.302 trillion dollars for the 2011 fiscal year, 141 billion dollars higher than the previous fiscal year, an increase of 6.5 percent.
Outlays for the 2011 fiscal year were 145 billion above those in the previous fiscal year standing at 3.601 trillion dollars, an increase of 4.2 percent.
Total government outlays accounted for 24.1 percent of the nation's GDP, virtually unchanged from the prior fiscal year.
The United States could live within its means while still making the investments the country needed to prosper, including a jobs package proposed by the Obama administration to boost long- term investments in education, innovation and infrastructure, Lew stressed.
However, the U.S. Senate on Tuesday defeated President Barack Obama's jobs plan in a procedural vote as Republicans and some Democrats objected stimulus spending and a tax surcharge on the super-rich.
"Congress has an opportunity now to pass reforms to reduce future deficits and strengthen economic growth," said Geithner.
A newly-formed bipartisan congressional deficit reduction committee, formally named the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, was tasked to identify at least 1.2 trillion U.S. dollars in deficit cuts by Nov. 23.
But the committee members had to walk the fine line between putting the nation's fiscal house in order and protecting programs that keep the economy strong.
Amid the acrimonious political environment before the election year, experts held that to achieve any major fiscal or economic reform in the nation would be a tough challenge.