Federal Deficit and Debt: August 2019

Every month the U.S. Treasury releases data on the federal budget, including the current deficit. The following contains budget data for August 2019, which was the 11th month of fiscal year 2019.

Current Federal Deficit

The federal government ran a deficit in eight of the first ten months of Fiscal Year 2019

  • Federal Budget Deficit for August 2019: $200 billion
  • Federal Budget Deficit for August 2018: $214 billion

The deficit for August 2019 was $14 billion smaller than that recorded in August 2018. While outlays in both of those months were increased by shifts in the timing of certain federal payments, the effect was larger in August 2018 than in August 2019. Without those shifts, the August 2019 deficit would have been $5 billion larger than it was a year ago.

Cumulative Federal Deficit

The budget deficit for Fiscal Year 2019 is currently outpacing prior years

  • Cumulative FY19 Deficit through August 2019: $1,067 billion
  • Cumulative Budget Deficit over Same Period in FY18: $898 billion

The cumulative deficit through the first 11 months of FY19 was $169 billion larger than it was through the same period in FY18. That reflects a $272 billion increase in outlays, partially offset by a $103 billion increase in receipts.

National Debt

The national debt is on an unsustainable path

  • Debt Held by the Public through August 2019: $16.6 trillion
  • Debt Held by the Public through August 2018: $15.8 trillion

While the deficit varies from month-to-month, and may even decline some months — for example, in April when taxpayers are submitting their personal income taxes — debt and deficits are on an unsustainable upward trajectory. The CBO projects that national debt could rise to about 140 percent of gross domestic product by 2049. That level of debt would far exceed the 50-year historical average of approximately 40% of GDP.

Why are such high levels of debt so concerning? There are many reasons that Americans should be concerned about the rising national debt — particularly if you are concerned about economic growth, investments in our nation’s future, and preservation of our social safety net.

Expert Views: Fiscal Commission

We asked experts with diverse views from across the political spectrum to share their perspectives.

National Debt Clock

See the latest numbers and learn more about the causes of our high and rising debt.