The federal government ran up a budget deficit of nearly $780 billion in the first half of the fiscal year amid more spending on TARP, Social Security, Medicare and more, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
But the shortfall is actually $53 billion less than it was in the same period last year. From Oct. 1, 2011, through March 30, 2012, the government pulled in $29 billion more in corporate income taxes -- a 53% increase -- due to businesses making higher payments and getting smaller refunds.
Revenue from individual income taxes increased by $10 billion, or 2%. The government took in $1.07 trillion total, an increase of $46 billion, or 4.5%, from last year.
And the $1.84 trillion that it spent was less than it did during the first half of 2011. Medicaid spending was cut 16%, education spending was down 32% and defense spending shrank 3%.
The government is also making fewer payments to cover unemployment benefits, shelling out $15 billion, or 22%, less due to a drop in claims.
The budget office expects the total deficit for the year, barring any drastic spending legislation, to end up around $1.2 trillion. That will make 2012 the fourth straight year with a shortfall that exceeds $1 trillion.