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Deficit Tops $1 Trillion For Fourth Year

The figures are in for the federal government's fiscal 2012 and the deficit was $1.089 trillion, according to the Treasury Department and Office of Management and Budget.

That's less than the previous year's $1.297 trillion and is the third consecutive decline.

But it's also the fourth year in a row of a $1 trillion+ gap between spending and revenues.

-- Fiscal 2009: $1.413 trillion.

-- Fiscal 2010: $1.293 trillion.

-- Fiscal 2011: $1.297 trillion.

-- Fiscal 2012: $1.089 trillion.

During Thursday's vice presidential debate, Republican nominee Rep. Paul Ryan criticized President Obama for promising to cut the deficit in half in four years, but instead producing four years of gaps exceeding $1 trillion.

Vice President Biden said Republicans caused both the "Great Recession" and soaring deficits by putting "two wars on a credit card ... a prescription drug benefit on the credit card" and giving the wealth a "$1 trillion tax cut."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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