“Closing the books on a fiscal year in which the federal budget deficit fell more sharply than in any year since the end of World War II, the Treasury Department reported on Thursday that the deficit for 2013 dropped to $680 billion, from about $1.1 trillion the previous year,” the New York Times reports.
“In nominal terms, that is the smallest deficit since 2008, and signals the end of a five-year stretch beginning with the onset of the recession when the country’s fiscal gap came in at more than $1 trillion each year. As a share of the nation’s economy, the budget deficit fell to about 4.1 percent, from a high of more than 10 percent during the depths of the Great Recession.”
Key takeaway: “Growth in tax revenue from an improving economy accounted for much of the decline in the deficit. But increases in taxes and cuts in federal spending played a significant role, as did a surprising — and surprisingly long — slowdown in the pace of health spending.”