The federal deficit ballooned by $204.9 billion during the month of November, according to data (.pdf) released last week by the U.S. Treasury.
That’s a whopping 48 percent increase from the same month last year …
Through the first two months of the federal fiscal year (which began on October 1), the government of the United States dug itself a $305 billion hole – with red ink for the full fiscal year (when ends on September 30, 2019) projected to clock in as high as $1.2 trillion.
Trillion dollar deficits are being projected for fiscal year 2020 and 2021, as well.
Surprised? Don’t be …
If you read this news outlet, you would have known this was coming since February (at least).
What is driving this dramatic ramp-up in deficit spending? According to Democrats, the surging red ink is the result of GOP tax cuts enacted a year ago. According to Republicans, the blame lies with excessive spending (especially entitlement spending).
Of course Republicans bear as much blame as Democrats when it comes to excessive spending … especially huge increases in appropriations for America’s military.
The new numbers come as U.S. president Donald Trump – who has previously accommodated Democrats and liberal Republicans on these spending sprees – has locked himself into an acrimonious budget battle over funding for a wall on the border between the United States and Mexico.
You know, the wall Mexico was supposed to pay for …
If Trump doesn’t get $5 billion for this wall, he has threatened a partial shutdown of the federal government.
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That’s an important battle – and it represents an increasingly rare point of agreement between this news outlet and Trump. But a much bigger issue is the fiscal sustainability of the American Republic … or lack thereof.
“This borrowing is virtually unprecedented in current economic conditions,” the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) noted in a recent post. “Rarely have deficits risen when the economy is booming. And never in modern U.S. history have deficits been so high outside of a war or recession (or their aftermath).”
That’s true … and frightening.
As a candidate in 2016, Trump vowed to eliminate the national debt over a period of eight years. Not only is that not happening, he has put America on a path to hit $30 trillion in red ink within the coming decade.
Compounding the problem, a bigger overall debt means higher interest payments … which of course drain additional taxpayer money from current budget cycles.
Last September, we penned a column entitled “Government’s Crushing Debt: Not Just Tomorrow’s Problem” in which we noted that “within ten years, interest payments on the debt will top $1 trillion annually – which is amazing when you consider that the entire federal debt was less than $1 trillion as recently as 1981.”
Amazing … and again, frightening.
This new outlet assailed the budget-busting policies of former U.S. presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama – as well as their wrong-headed approaches to the Great Recession. It is only fair that we direct the same criticisms toward Trump and congressional Republicans.
The federal government’s soaring debt – particularly the huge interest obligations it is imposing upon contemporary budgets – remains a clear and present danger to the American Republic and to future generations of citizens and taxpayers.
What can be done? At this point, very little … although we do support raising the eligibility age for Medicare, pushing retirement back several years and imposing draconian cuts on the military and other federal bureaucracies.
Will any of those reforms ever pass congress? We doubt it …
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