The Deficit is Finally Great Again

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the federal deficit would top $1 trillion for the current fiscal year, but that was just an estimate.

The Treasury Department has made it official -- the federal deficit climbed to $1.07 trillion in the first 11 months of the year even though Trump's tariffs have increased revenue.

Since Oct. 1, the budget gap rose by about 19% to $1.07 trillion, according to the Treasury Department’s monthly budget report released Thursday. The comparable deficit a year earlier was $898.1 billion.

The budget received a nudge from customs duties, which surged to $64 billion in the fiscal year-to-date from $36.7 billion a year earlier, reflecting the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese imports, steel and other goods. Even still, income from duties represents a small share of overall federal revenue.

Fiscal year to date, revenue rose 3% from a year earlier to $3.09 trillion. Outlays increased by 7% to $4.16 trillion, the figures showed.

In other words, the deficit would already be over $1.1 trillion if Trump's trade war had not made our fiscal situation look slightly better than it really is.

Look, it's not as if we all need to convert to deficit hawkery or commit to future austerity. The deficit itself is not a problem as much as where the money is going is.

We haven't exploded the deficit by spending it on railroads and bridges or health care or any other vital infrastructure. We haven't spent the money on anything that offers a future return to the public or the government. We haven't spent the money on anything that might actually return a profit, increase standards of living, or reduce the burden on future generations.

We've blown it on tax cuts for people who were already the richest people in the world. And they aren't spending it. We've created a bottomless hole -- a money-sucking pit -- that doesn't even show up in economic reports on growth or investment.

Like it or not, the next president will have to tackle the deficit because they won't be able to do all the other things they want to do, like expand access to health care, if they don't. Running a deficit is not a problem, but we can't run deficits into infinity without creating whole new problems for ourselves. We can't pile another trillion dollars on top of the GOP's $1.5 trillion tax cut which will have to be repealed or replaced by new taxes on the rich.

Get you someone who loves you the way Republicans love deficit spending on nothing of real value.

  • muselet

    When deficits happen is pretty much as important as why.

    Running deficits during recessions is fine, even smart: the government should pick up some of the slack in the economy and provide stimulus during slowdowns.

    Running deficits when the economy is healthy or healthy-adjacent is just plain dumb: that’s when the government should be running surpluses, so it’ll have money to spend when hard times hit.

    Unsurprisingly, Rs choose the latter course of action.


  • gescove

    “Like it or not, the next president will have to tackle the deficit…” Pray that president is a Democrat with strong majorities in both chambers of Congress. Then they can claw back the tax cuts, enact new taxes, and start investing in our country. If not, Republicans will suddenly come down with deficit fever and set about to gut what’s left of our tattered social safety net.

  • Draxiar

    This fits perfectly with the way the orange dick wrinkle does business. Spend tons of money and let someone else deal with how to pay for it….or let someone else pay for it.