CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER
AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. federal government's budget deficit widened in November compared to October, a sign that the nation is on a path to its fifth straight $1 trillion-plus deficit.
The budget gap rose to $172 billion in November, up from $120 billion in October, the Treasury Department said Wednesday. The November deficit was also 25 percent higher than the same month last year. Last month's deficit was pushed higher by a calendar quirk that pulled about $33 billion in benefits payments into November from December.
The government finished the 2012 budget year with a deficit of $1.1 trillion. President Barack Obama and Congress are under pressure to curb the deficit as part of a budget deal to prevent tax increases and deep spending cuts from kicking in Jan. 1.
With the economy and hiring improving a bit, the government is receiving more tax receipts. Overall tax revenue rose 10 percent in the first two months of the budget year to $346 billion. But spending has risen faster, up $87 billion or 16 percent.
The deficit, in simplest terms, is the amount of money the government has to borrow when revenues fall short of expenses. Last year's deficit was lower than the previous year but still painfully high by historical standards. The budget year ends Sept. 30.
Obama's presidency has coincided with four straight $1 trillion-plus deficits
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.