The U.S. budget deficit has shrunk to its lowest level since 2007. The figure marks a new benchmark for the Obama administration and arrives during tension in Congress, which has yet to raise the federal debt limit with a Nov. 3 deadline looming.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury released data from the latest fiscal year on Oct. 15, showing a budget shortfall of $439 billion, which marks a 9 percent decrease from the 2014 fiscal year, according to MarketWatch.
2015’s budget shortfall makes up 2.5 percent of the U.S. economy, the lowest since 2007, The New York Times reports. These numbers fall under the national average of the last 40 years, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“Under the president’s leadership, the deficit has been cut by roughly three-quarters as a share of the economy since 2009 — the fastest sustained deficit reduction since just after World War II,” Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said in a statement, according to The New York Times.
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The shrinking deficit has been attributed to rising wages and corporate profits, which have led to higher payroll and income taxes.
The new numbers are a dramatic decrease from 2009, when the deficit accounted for 10 percent of the U.S. economy, The Wall Street Journal reports. That bloated shortfall was due to the stimulus packages pumped into the economy following the 2008 economic crisis.
The positive numbers have arrived during a combative time in Washington D.C. Congress has until Nov. 3 to raise the U.S. debt limit, after which the federal government will lose its ability to borrow, Market Watch reports. Once that is settled, Congress must also vote by Dec. 11 to keep the federal government funded.
The current fiscal battles are happening during a chaotic time in the House, which is scrambling to find a replacement for departing Speaker John Boehner, The Wall Street Journal reports. Boehner has sworn that the debt limit will be raised and is likely to bring it up for vote before the end of October.
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The Congressional Budget Office has warned that the deficit will begin to inflate again if there is not comprehensive reform in U.S. fiscal policy, The New York Times reports.