The August Monthly Treasury Statement released by the government today reveals that Uncle Sam ran a $134.2 billion deficit in August. That figure was $44.7 billion, or 48%, higher than the $90.5 billion deficit seen in August 2010. The year-over-year deficit increase occurred because outlays increased by 19% to over $303 billion, while receipts went up by 3% to $169 billion.
Gee, that wasn't difficult to express, was it? But it was apparently too difficult for the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger to communicate to his readers. Of the eight figures and percentages noted in the opening paragraph, only one -- the August 2011 deficit -- appears in his report.
Crutsinger's defense may be that he wanted to concentrate on year-to-date figures. But that objection, if raised, rings hollow, given that he wasted several paragraphs falsely rehashing the past decade's fiscal history while completely failing to explain why spending continues to increase even though the 2009-2010 stimulus program is supposedly over.
Here are excerpts from Crutsinger's Tuesday afternoon report (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Federal deficit totaled $1.23T through August
The federal budget deficit reached $1.23 trillion in August. The third straight $1 trillion-plus deficit adds pressure on Congress and the White House to reach agreement on a long-term plan to trim government spending. 
The Treasury Department said the deficit grew by $134.2 billion last month. At that rate,  the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects the deficit will total $1.28 trillion when the budget year ends in September. That would nearly match last year's $1.29 trillion imbalance and come in below the record $1.41 trillion hit in fiscal 2009. 
... Interest on the debt is the fastest growing category of the budget, according to the Treasury report. Payments totaled $233 billion through August, up 15 percent from the same period a year ago.
Revenues totaled $2.06 trillion through August, up 7.6 percent from a year ago. Tax receipts have increased as more people have gone back to work. Government spending totaled $3.3 trillion through August, an increase of 3.8 percent from the same period in 2010. 
... Obama has also recommended a series of tax hikes to pay for his $447 billion job-creation proposal.  He wants Congress to limit itemized deductions for charitable contributions and other deductions taken by families making over $250,000 a year, close loopholes for oil and gas companies,  change the tax treatment of corporate jets and require investment fund managers to pay higher taxes on certain income.
... The government last recorded a budget surplus in 2001, when revenues were $127 billion greater than spending. The surpluses were expected to total $5.6 trillion over the next decade. 
But the deficits grew again after President George W. Bush won approval for broad tax cuts ... 
Higher spending on unemployment insurance and food stamps, and a sharp contraction in tax revenues, widened the deficit. And it grew even more after the Obama administration backed a $787 billion stimulus program  to boost the economy.
The bottom line is that, as so many predicted when it happened, the Obama administration used the stimulus to increase the government's spending baseline to the point where any suggestion that outlays should be reduced to below $300 billion a month is considered outrageous -- even though the government was spending less than $230 a month just four years ago. You'll never see Martin Crutsinger or anyone else at the AP acknowledge that basic truth.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.