Originally from the Washington Post —February 3,2018. By Heather Long
Image: Provided by WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post The National Debt Clock in New York City is shown last November. The total is about $100 billion higher now. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
It was another crazy news week, so it’s understandable if you missed a small but important announcement from the Treasury Department: The federal government is on track to borrow nearly $1 trillion this fiscal year — Trump’s first full year in charge of the budget.
That’s almost double what the government borrowed in fiscal year 2017.
Here are the exact figures: The U.S. Treasury expects to borrow $955 billion this fiscal year, according to a documents released Wednesday. It’s the highest amount of borrowing in six years, and a big jump from the $519 billion the federal government borrowed last year.
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Treasury mainly attributed the increase to the “fiscal outlook.” The Congressional Budget Office was more blunt. In a report this week, the CBO said tax receipts are going to be lower because of the new tax law.
The uptick in borrowing is yet another complication in the heated debates in Congress over whether to spend more money on infrastructure, the military, disaster relief and other domestic programs. The deficit is already up significantly, even before Congress allots more money to any of these areas.
“We’re addicted to debt,” says Marc Goldwein, senior policy director at Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. He blames both parties for the situation.
What’s particularly jarring is this is the first time borrowing has jumped this much (as a share of GDP) in a non-recession time since Ronald Reagan was president, says Ernie Tedeschi, a former senior adviser to the U.S. Treasury who is now head of fiscal analysis at Evercore ISI. Under Reagan, borrowing spiked because of a buildup in the military, something Trump is advocating again