Deficits Getting Less Bad, But Trend Will Not Last

In FY 2015, the federal government spent $435 billion more than it collected in taxes and other revenues, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates. On the positive side, the budget deficit is $48 billion smaller than it was in FY 2014, and is the lowest since 2008, when it was at $459 billion. 

Compared to the previous year, receipts were up by 8 percent to $3.2 trillion and outlays were up 5 percent to $3.7 trillion. The figures are preliminary estimates, the Treasury will report the final FY 2015 data later this month.

This is the 14th consecutive year that the government has been in deficit. The last time the fiscal year ended with a surplus was in 2001.

And although the deficit is getting less bad, the trend is not expected to continue. After FY 2016, CBO projects that the deficit will again begin to expand, reaching $1 trillion in FY 2025. And over that same period, net interest payments on the debt are expected to balloon from 1.2 percent to 2.8 percent of GDP.