131772836The U.S. federal budget nearly broke even last month. Compared with deficits of $120 billion in October and $172 billion in November, December's $260 million is very low. For the 2013 fiscal year to date (three months) the federal government has spent $292.4 billion more than it has collected.

The good news is that the federal deficit to date in the fiscal year is 9% lower than the first three months of fiscal year 2012. Last year the federal budget actually ran a surplus in April (income tax time) and September (end of the fiscal year).

December receipts of $269.5 billion represent the largest total in 15 months, and December outlays of $269.8 billion is much lower than total outlays in either October or November.

It's not out of the question that January's collections will outpace spending as the payroll tax increase takes another bite of 2% out of workers' paychecks.

Interest on the public debt totaled $95.7 billion in December, more than one-third of total receipts. That deserves a little thought.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Economy, Politics

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