How do the f$#@ we gonna pay all this? It keeps piling up every monht http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100...00780.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollection WASHINGTONâThe U.S. budget deficit shrank in December, but the government still spent far more than it collected, adding to the country's already high level of debt. The Treasury Department's regular monthly statement on spending and revenue Wednesday showed an $80 billion shortfall last month. The December deficit met expectations and was smaller than the $91.41 billion shortfall in the same month a year prior. Also, the gap wasn't as wide as October 2010's deficit of $140.43 billion or November's $150.39 billion. Still, the deficit for the first three months of fiscal year 2011 topped $370 billion. And when fiscal 2011 ends Sept. 30, the deficit for the year might be the biggest ever. Washington ran a $1.294-trillion deficit in fiscal 2010 and a record $1.416 trillion in fiscal 2009 as the U.S. trudged through a deep recession. Yet even though the economy is healing, recovery is slow because of high joblessness. Some private analysts think this year's deficit might set an all-time high because of the recent extension of income-tax cuts. The tax cuts are another government tool designed to spur the economy. The extension drew criticism amid a push to bring down future deficits. Concerns about a burgeoning national debt abound as the U.S. population ages and strains entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare that make up a big chunk of government spending. With the continued widening deficits, the government could reach its debt limit of nearly $14.3 trillion as early as March 31. Lawmakers have lifted the ceiling 10 times over the past 10 years, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is pushing for another raising of the debt limit. But, in exchange, Republicans in Congress want spending cuts. The December deficit marked the government's 27th shortfall in a row. In the first three months of fiscal 2011, which began Oct. 1, federal spending totaled $902.62 billion, including $56.78 billion in interest payments on the government's debt. Revenue was $531.80 billion, which are higher than the same period last year as a stronger economy pulls in more taxes.