Nine months into the fiscal year, the federal deficit has topped $1 trillion for the first time.
The imbalance is intensifying fears about higher interest rates and inflation, and already pressuring the value of the dollar. There's also concern about trying to reverse the deficit—by reducing government spending or raising taxes—in the midst of a harsh recession.
The Treasury Department said Monday that the deficit in June totaled $94.3 billion, pushing the total since the budget year started in October to nearly $1.1 trillion.
The deficit has been propelled by the huge sum the government has spent to combat the recession and financial crisis, combined with a sharp decline in tax revenues. Paying for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan also is a major factor.
The bestest part of this all? We've still got until the end of September to make this record the equivalent of Bob Beamon's gold-medal winning great leap forward at the Mexico City Olympics, i.e., the sort of record that hopefully won't be broken or even approached again for decades.
To be sure, total spending as a percentage of GDP has been higher (during World War II), but the numbers we're putting up are absolutely mind-boggling in something like peacetime, especially when you consider what we're getting for all the coin we (and our grandkids' grandkids!) are shelling out. Which is pretty close to bupkis.
George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Democrats, Republicans: We couldn't have done it without you!