US budget deficit hits highest level in 6 years

This year's budget deficit was the highest in six years.

The White House blueprint issued in February for the 2019 fiscal year also abandoned the long-held Republican goal of balancing the budget within a decade, instead projecting deficits into the foreseeable future.

The Treasury Department's final data for the 2018 fiscal year, released Monday, shows that the deficit was driven by a combination of higher spending and additional borrowing.

Military spending also rose by six percent or $32 billion, while the cost of Social Security, the USA national retirement system, rose four percent.

New government spending also expanded the federal deficit for the 12 months through September, the first full annual budget on the watch of U.S. President Donald Trump.

The Treasury's official tally was in line with an estimate last week from the CBO, which pegged the deficit at $782 billion. Trump's corporate tax cuts brought the United States in line with the rest of the world, thereby increasing US competitiveness in a global market.

"Without Republicans' tax cuts, war-fighting, and defense build-up since 2001, the federal budget would have been $156 billion in surplus", Sanders said.

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Trump frequently criticised Obama for running up the deficit, and in 2012 recommended banning lawmakers from re-election if Congress couldn't balance the budget. The CBO said that this deficit increase "would arise because spending would grow steadily under current law, and revenues would not keep pace with that spending growth".

Much of the increase is pegged to recent legislation, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Trump and his fellow Republicans have touted the tax cuts as a boost to growth and jobs. "The fact that our government is closing in on trillion-dollar deficits in the midst of an economic expansion should be a serious issue for voters and candidates", William Hoagland, its senior vice president, said of next month's US congressional elections.

"Going forward the President's economic policies that have stimulated strong economic growth, combined with proposals to cut wasteful spending, will lead America toward a sustainable financial path", Mnuchin said.

During a strong economy, the government typically collects more taxes, resulting in a lower budget deficit.

He said that while a good economy would increase government revenue, "this fiscal picture is a blunt warning to Congress of the dire consequences of irresponsible and unnecessary spending".

The deficit increased by 17% compared to 2017 and is the largest deficit since 2012.

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