RISING DEFICIT: The U.S. federal budget deficit increased $70 billion in July and is on track to top $1 trillion for the fourth straight year. The deficit for the first 10 months of the 2012 budget year totaled $974 billion, the Treasury Department said Friday.

THE CONTEXT: The total for the year so far year is 11.5 percent less than the $1.1 trillion gap in the same period last year. A slightly better economy has boosted income tax receipts, which have increased 6 percent so far this year. Corporate income tax receipts rose nearly 30 percent compared to a year ago. Spending has dipped 0.3 percent.

THE OUTLOOK: Still, President Obama will almost certainly face re-election after running $1 trillion deficits each year in office. GOP candidate Mitt Romney has criticized Obama for failing to cut the deficit in half, as he pledged to do during his 2008 campaign.