The shortfall is more than double the previous full-year record, set in 2009. At the time, Washington was grappling with the aftermath of the 2008 housing financial crisis. Even before the pandemic, the US was on track to run a deficit of more than $1tn this year - large by historic standards.


At a hearing in Washington in June, Jerome Powell, the head of the US central bank, told members of Congress that America's spending path was "unsustainable", but said reducing the shortfall should not be a priority given the state of the economy.

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