- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 15, 2015

After several years of GOP-imposed constraints the federal government opened the spending floodgates again in 2015, setting a new record with outlays of $3.688 trillion in the just-ended fiscal year.

But the annual take from taxes grew even faster, hitting a record $3.249 trillion, to help lower the annual deficit to just $439 billion — the lowest rate of President Obama’s tenure, and lower than the hole President George W. Bush left in his last full year in office.

The Treasury Department reported Thursday on the final numbers from fiscal year 2015, which closed Sept. 30, and the picture was decidedly mixed.

The deficit dropped to 2.5 percent as a percentage of gross domestic product, which is lower than the average of the last four decades — but that average has been skewed upward because of the massive deficits racked up from 2009 through 2013.

Mr. Obama’s top economic policy advisers took a victory lap over the numbers.

“President Obama’s agenda continues to put federal finances on a sustainable footing while laying the foundation for durable economic growth and broadly shared prosperity,” Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said in announcing the 2015 results. “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.”

But budget analysts say the relief is short-lived, and deficits will roar back by the end of this decade. And debt is still accumulating, reaching levels not seen since the end of World War II, when the government paid down the massive tab from fighting the Axis powers.

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