Washington - The government ran up the largest monthly deficit in history in February, keeping the flood of red ink on track to top last year's record for the full year.
The Treasury Department said Wednesday that the February deficit totaled $220.9bn, 14 percent higher than the previous record set in February of last year.
The deficit through the first five months of this budget year totals $651.6bn, 10.5 percent higher than a year ago.
The Obama administration is projecting that the deficit for the 2010 budget year will hit an all-time high of $1.56 trillion, surpassing last year's $1.4 trillion total. The administration is forecasting that the deficit will remain above $1 trillion in 2011, giving the country thrree straight years of $1 trillion-plus deficits.
The administration says the huge deficits are necessary to get the country out of the deepest recession since the 1930s. But Republicans have attacked the stimulus spending as wasteful and a failure at the primary objective of lowering unemployment.
The administration defends the economic stimulus bill that Congress passed in February 2009 with a pricetag at the time of $787bn as the right medicine to get the economy back on its feet. President Barack Obama has said even more is needed to battle an unemployment rate that remained stuck in February at 9.7 percent.
The White House says that job creation will remain a top priority, hoping to convince voters that Obama did not spend too much time during his first year in office trying to get Congress to pass health care reform.