The Treasury Department reported in October that the U.S. budget deficit shrunk to $439 billion in fiscal 2015, the lowest it has been since 2008, the year that Barack Obama was first elected president.

This deficit amounts to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product, the lowest percentage it has been since 2007. This is less than the average of the last 40 years taking us back to 1975.

Revenue grew 8 percent over 2014 while spending grew 5 percent. Deficits that exceeded $1 trillion annually during the fiscal years of 2009-2012 have been trimmed to less than half of that amount.

Republican presidential candidates insist that the future of the country is being jeopardized by out-of-control federal spending creating insurmountable debt. Although uncontested by debate moderators, this supposition is not supported by facts.

After peaking in 2009, the federal deficit has declined steadily each year up to the present.

It should be remembered that President Ronald Reagan increased spending to fight the Cold War. President George W. Bush increased spending to fight the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

President Obama increased spending to fight the legacy of the 2008 recession.

It can be argued that the increases in spending by Presidents Reagan, Bush and Obama were in our national interest. But it must also be acknowledged that the steady decrease in our deficit is also in our national interest and that President Obama has presided over spending policy that has contributed to this favorable result.

We are not out of the fiscal woods, but we are nowhere near as lost as the Republicans contend. Nor are we being led down the wrong path by Democratic fiscal policy.

In September, the Treasury reported receipts totaling $365 billion, contributing to a budget surplus of $91 billion.

Tom Foley

Cumberland Foreside