The federal government spent $3.1 trillion more than it brought in as revenue in fiscal year 2020, which began October 2019 and ended September 2020. During that time, the government spent a total of $6.5 trillion and brought in a total of $3.4 trillion. The most recent budget surplus was in 2001.
Total federal government public debt is now up to approximately $26 trillion. As of the end of the second quarter of 2020, the public debt was 136% of, or 36% larger than, the nation’s gross domestic product.
Increased government spending was driven by several programs responding to the pandemic-induced economic downturn. For example the Small Business Administration spent over $500 billion in June alone, an amount larger than the entire 2015 deficit. The government has also spent more than $500 billion on unemployment insurance this year, while the government had spent just over $30 billion on the same programs the previous year.
Meanwhile, federal government revenue was relatively similar to that of last year. The pandemic’s full impact on state tax revenue remains to be seen, though revenue for the second quarter of 2020 was significantly lower than revenue for the same quarter in 2019.