The federal deficit will hit $3 trillion in 2021 for the second consecutive year, primarily because of the national spending blitz in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Congressional Budget Office said Thursday.
The deficit represents a slight decrease from last year but is triple that of 2019, and amounts to one of the biggest imbalances between federal spending and revenue in American history, the nonpartisan budget office said. But the CBO also projected faster-than-expected economic growth, with unemployment falling more sharply than previously predicted — a shift cheered by administration officials.
In 2021, the federal government is projected to spend $6.8 trillion — higher than even last year’s total — while collecting about $3.8 trillion in revenue. Although spending is elevated from last year, the United States will take in more revenue as the pandemic fades and consumers resume normal activities — which is why the overall deficit will shrink modestly.