Patterico's Pontifications


National Debt Hits New High, with Trillion Dollar Deficits Again on the Horizon

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:52 am

Don’t pay attention to what Trump says. Pay attention to his accomplishments:

The U.S. national debt has increased by more than half a trillion dollars in less than six months, amid predictions that the U.S. is on the verge of returning to another explosion in government borrowing.

. . . .

The Treasury Department says the government is on track to have a total budget deficit of about $850 billion in the current fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.

Fiscal 2019 is expected to be worse: The Congressional Budget Office predicts a budget deficit of just under $1 trillion.

The article says the $500 billion per five months rate of growth is “a relative improvement” that “reflects the surge of tax receipts that flowed into the government starting in April, when individual tax returns are due,” but says that the prospects for the longer term look grim.

Ah, well. Now that it’s “our” guy in office, it’s impolite to mention these things, isn’t it? Better to say it would have been this bad under a Democrat too and otherwise shrug. Or put all the blame on Congress and forget Trump has a veto. Whatever you do, don’t criticize Dear Leader!

That which cannot go on forever, won’t. We knew this during the Obama years. Now we must forget it.

Tribalism demands it.

UPDATE: To those who assume it would have been worse under Hillary: apply some critical thinking. Here’s a data point for you to consider. These were the deficits for the most recent Obama years:

Fiscal 2013: $680 billion
Fiscal 2014: $485 billion
Fiscal 2015: $438 billion
Fiscal 2016: $587 billion

Republicans pretend to care about deficits when a Democrat is in office. They spend like drunken sailors while a Republican is in office. Yes, Obama had horrific trillion-dollar-plus deficits before the numbers cited above — but he also came into office just after the Great Recession.

When I talked about the relative strengths and weaknesses of Hillary and Trump presidencies, I routinely said that judges would be one of the best aspects of a Trump presidency and the budget would be one of the worst, because of the tendency of Republican Congresses to care about spending only when a Democrat is in office. The mirror image would be true of a Hillary presidency — as to budgets and judges. Budgets would be better. The judiciary would be far worse.

Remember: Bill Clinton is the only president in forever to run a surplus. He didn’t do it alone. But Republicans behave more responsibly with Democrats in the Oval Office. That’s undeniable.

So spare me the lazy analysis that a Democrat would obviously have been worse. The facts don’t bear it out.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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