The federal government ran a $132 billion deficit in August, marking a record 35th straight month in the red, according to preliminary estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.
CBO analysts said that, when adjusted for the number of business days, government revenue actually fell this year compared to August 2010 — the first drop in months — while spending ran well ahead of last year. Overall, the August 2011 deficit was $41 billion higher than a year earlier.
The federal government has not run a monthly surplus since September of 2008, or just before the Wall Street collapse pushed the economy into recession. Before this streak, the government had never gone a year without recording at least one monthly surplus since records began in 1980.
Fiscal 2011 ends Sept. 30, and through the first 11 months the government has run a deficit of $1.23 trillion, putting it on track for the third worst year in history.
Spending on interest payments on the debt is growing faster than any other category of spending, the CBO said. Interest charges shot up “by nearly 18 percent (or $37 billion) — mainly because of substantial growth in that debt over the past 11 months,” according to the agency.
By contrast, Medicare grew by 4 percent, Social Security by 3.5 percent and Medicare by 2.1 percent. Defense spending only grew by 1.5 percent.
The CBO’s numbers are estimates. The Treasury Department will release final figures later this month.