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The deficit was $489 billion through the first seven months of fiscal 2013, compared with $720 billion in the first seven months of fiscal 2012, a decline of $230 billion, or 32 percent. Meanwhile, the government collected so much money in April that it paid down about $50 billion of the debt it owes to investors around the world.
We’ve discussed this before. But it bears repeating: The miracle cure for deficits—last fiscal year it was $1.089 trillion—is growth and higher taxes. Now we’re getting both. In the U.S. today there are two million more people working than a year ago, at slightly higher wages. That translates into more payroll and income taxes. Payroll taxes were raised substantially on January 1, 2013, from 4.2 percent of the first $133,700 to 6.2 percent. And higher taxes on the investment and regular income of very high earners went into effect as well.
The upshot has been a gusher of income. In the first six months of 2013, revenues rose 12.5 percent from the year before. Meanwhile, thanks to declining spending on unemployment benefits, winding down of two wars, and the sequester, spending fell—about 2.4 percent in the first six months of fiscal 2013. The trends continued—and probably accelerated—in April. CBO estimated that the government reported a surplus of $122 billion in April 2013—more than twice the size of the surplus it notched in April 2012.
Add it all up, and it means the deficit is melting away.
Or as republicans put it “OBAMA IS RUINING THE ECONOMY!”
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Party strategy: nervously chain smoke outside