The federal budget deficit for fiscal 2013 has plunged by more than $400 billion, the biggest drop since the end of World War II, the Treasury Department says. It comes in at $680 billion—not exactly pocket change, but a lot better than the trillion-plus deficits of the last five years. The deficit is now at its smallest level since 2008, and while growing tax revenues from the healthier economy account for most of the drops, budget cuts and tax rises also helped, the New York Times reports. Revenue jumped by $324 billion to $2.8 trillion, the Treasury says, while government spending edged up to $3.9 trillion from $3.8 trillion.
"Thanks to the tenacity of the American people and the determination of the private sector we are moving in the right direction," says Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. "The United States has recovered faster than any other advanced economy, and our deficit today is less than half of what it was when President Obama first took office." The Senate Budget Committee says the outlook for future deficit reduction is good, with an estimated reduction of $3.3 trillion over the next decade because of the cuts and tax rises that came from the fiscal-cliff battles, the Washington Post finds. (Read more budget deficit stories.)