The 10 biggest breaks, deductions and credits in the U.S. income tax code are costing the Treasury $900 billion this year, with more than half of that total benefiting the wealthiest 20 percent of taxpayers.
During the housing bust, taxpayers were forced to bail out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But thanks to the real estate recovery, Fannie Mae could end up paying tens of billions of dollars back to the Treasury this summer.
That's just one of the factors behind a better bottom line for the federal government. This week, the Treasury Department announced it will pay down some of its debt for the first time in six years.
While the economy will benefit from continued improvement in "underlying" conditions, the federal government's push to tighten its spending will slow overall growth in 2013, the Congressional Budget Office projects.
In an updated "Budget and Economic Outlook" reported released Tuesday afternoon, the agency forecasts:
-- 1.4 percent growth in gross domestic product this year, vs. 2.3 percent in 2012.