The Department of the Treasury's Financial Management Service has released numbers for January that showed the government ran a $3 billion surplus in the first month of 2013. Still, for the 2013 fiscal year, which technically began in October, the government is running a $290 billion deficit, after outlays exceeded receipts by $120 billion in October, $172 billion in November, and $1 billion in December. While a $290 billion deficit in a five-month period doesn't sound like much to brag about, it's still an improvement from last year, when the deficit was sitting at nearly $350 billion during the same period.
Standing out as areas of major government outlays were the Department of Defense, which has spent more than $217 billion thus far in the fiscal year, and the Department of Health and Human Services, which has spent $294 billion in the 2013 fiscal year. Together, the two departments combined for more than $511 billion of the country's $1.18 trillion in outlays during the period. In tonight's State of the Union address, President Obama is rumored to announce the withdrawal of thousands of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, which could be taken as a sign of his intent to curb military spending.