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Government records 40th straight deficit month in March

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The federal government ran a $777 billion deficit for the first six months of fiscal year 2012, the Congressional Budget Office estimated on Friday, including a $196 billion hole in March, marking the 40th straight month of deficits.

That streak goes back to the financial collapse under President George W. Bush, and means the government has never run a surplus in any month during President Obama's tenure. The longest previous deficit streak on record was 11 months.

At $777 billion, this year's deficit is an improvement compared to 2011 at this point, with tax revenues rising $46 billion and spending falling by $7 billion — due in part to the expiration of some stimulus programs in education and Medicaid.

On the revenue side, the CBO said almost two-thirds of the increase stems from higher corporate income tax payments.

The fiscal year began Oct. 1. CBO analysts have projected the government will run a fourth straight year of trillion-dollar deficits.

The CBO, Congress's non-partisan scorekeeper, does a preliminary estimate each month. The Treasury Department will release official figures next week.

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