American Deficits to Top Trillion Dollars for All of Next Decade

Donald Trump did not create this problem, but he has made it worse.

View of the United States Capitol in Washington DC in the early morning, January 15, 2017
View of the United States Capitol in Washington DC in the early morning, January 15, 2017 (DoD/William Lockwood)

The Congressional Budget Office has run the numbers on America’s fiscal outlook and it’s not pretty.

Summary from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

  • Debt will nearly double over the next decade, from $16.5 trillion today to $29.3 trillion by 2029.
  • Debt as a share of the economy will rise from today’s 78 percent — already a post-World War II high — to 95 percent by 2029.
  • If President Donald Trump’s tax cuts are extended until then, the debt would reach 101 percent of GDP by 2029.
  • Annual budget deficits will exceed the trillion-dollar mark next year and rise to $1.4 trillion, or 4.5 percent of GDP, by the end of the decade.

Trump did not create this problem. The growing disconnect between revenue and spending is primarily due to entitlement programs: Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. The last two will gradually become more expensive as the population ages. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, raised the eligibility for Medicaid, adding some twelve million Americans to the program.

But Trump has added to the deficit by cutting taxes for the wealthy without either raising other taxes or cutting spending.

Republicans, who argued for decentralizing Medicaid and partly privatizing Medicare under Obama, have not introduced a single entitlement reform in the two-and-a-half years Trump has been president.