For anyone who thought the term “budget surplus” had been exorcised from the U.S. government’s lexicon, the Treasury Department offered up some interesting news today.
For the first time since September, 2008, the government’s monthly receipts outpaced its expenditures, resulting in a $59 billion budget surplus in April. The end of the 42-month drought does not mean Washington has solved its budget problems. Indeed, for the first seven months of this fiscal year, $720 billion in cumulative deficits have been racked up.
But you’ve got to start somewhere and April’s result hinted at a slowly improving economy. Other such bits of evidence surfaced in government data released on Thursday: New applications for jobless benefits fell last week and March trade figures showed consumers gobbled up foreign goods at a fast clip while U.S. exports surged to a record high.
House Speaker John Boehner, the highest ranking elected Republican, wasn’t convinced that it was “Morning in America” for the U.S. economy (to steal a phrase from the ever-optimistic Ronald Reagan). “The American people are focused on the economy and they are asking the question, ‘where are the jobs,’” Boehner said at a press conference.