Records are supposed to be newsworthy, right? But in his Thursday coverage of the federal government’s June Monthly Treasury statement, Associated Press reporter Martin Crutsinger only told readers that the deficit for the month was $90 billion.
He did not disclose receipts or outlays. Why? Because if he had, he would have had to tell readers that the government spent an all-time record $429 billion during the month.
Here are the first two paragraphs in Crutsinger’s dispatch, followed by two later paragraphs as the reporter transitioned into discussions of projected full fiscal-year results by the Congressional Budget Office (bolds are mine):
The federal budget deficit rose sharply in June compared to a year ago, although much of the increase reflected calendar quirks.
The Treasury Department said Thursday the June deficit totaled $90.2 billion compared to a surplus in June 2016 of $6.3 billion. However, outlays grew by $39 billion this year because benefit payments that normally would have been distributed in July were made in June since July 1 fell on a Saturday.
… The Congressional Budget Office released an updated forecast last month that projected the deficit for this year will total $693 billion. That represented a sharp increase of $134 billion from CBO’s January forecast. The deficit in 2016 totaled $585.6 billion.
CBO blamed much of this year’s increase on the fact that the government is collecting less money in tax revenue this year than had been expected.
So if that’s true, one would expect that revenues are relatively flat, and that spending growth hasn’t been that significant. The next paragraph shows that the latter is certainly not the case:
For this budget year, which began Oct. 1, revenues total $2.51 trillion, up 1.6 percent from the same eight months last year. Outlays have risen 5.7 percent during the same period to $3 trillion.
This may be quibbling, but it’s interesting that Crutsinger took “revenues” (better known…