Trillion-dollar deficits on the horizon indefinitely

Tristan Justice writes for the Federalist about a disturbing fiscal fact for the federal government.

The U.S. deficit has hit its highest point in seven years, at $984 billion in the 2019 budget year, approximately a 26 percent increase from 2018 and a 48 percent increase from 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury on Friday. The deficit is the difference between how much the government spends and how much it takes in taxes.

While headlines characterize the soaring deficits in recent years as a product of the Trump administration’s passage of large tax cuts, Americans’ addiction to entitlements, including the passage of the Affordable Care Act, are the true culprits.

Although the administration’s tax cuts did fall short of bringing in expected revenues through higher economic activity, President Barack Obama contributed an additional $10 trillion to the national debt with higher interest rates his administration’s debt than previous administrations, in addition to passing the unfunded and unaffordable Affordable Care Act. Trump would have had to cut $1 trillion from the federal budget just to break even after Obamacare and begin paying down the nearly $23 trillion in federal debt. $1 trillion is more than 75 percent of the federal government’s entire budget for discretionary spending.

Revenues actually grew slightly higher under Trump, by 3.8 percent, despite massive tax cuts. Largely due to a booming economy, tax receipts rose from approximately $3.3 trillion in 2018 to $3.4 trillion in 2019. …

… The deficit is only expected to continue expanding, exceeding a $1 trillion in the next fiscal year, according to the Congressional Budget Office, while lawmakers are showing no signs of cutting entitlement spending even as it gets closer to openly bankrupting the nation.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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