The federal budget deficit is expected to break $1 trillion in 2020. This information is extremely disconcerting if not outright alarming.

Where is the fiscal responsibility? The deficit should be shrinking if the economy is doing so well. It is in a free fall, and how do we stop it?

More alarming, the Congressional Budget Office reports more spending (that’s irresponsible), and the repeal of several taxes used to help fund the Affordable Care Act. This repeal of taxes that are the lifeline to many people is being taken from the most vulnerable of our citizens. The people that can least afford the cuts. Let’s see: children, people on food stamps, school lunch programs (our Frederick kids included).

What I am reading is that the government is cutting the deficit from the bottom up. Those in dire straits who have little or nothing will have less and the deficit is growing. I read the other day that there is, on the table, a move to reduce Social Security (people in Frederick too), Medicare and Medicaid (Frederick included) by $2 trillion. Have you been to the doctor lately? I see tons of us elderly in the lines (Frederick County people).

Frederick County has the ALICE report that tells us this county can’t afford to lose federal help. By my reckoning, America is not being great, but rather a disgrace to what we allegedly stand for.

That camel is getting larger and the eye of the needle is much, much smaller.

William Dolan

Mount Airy

(58) comments

mrnatural1

There seems to be some confusion over the "budget deficit" and the "national debt".

For example, while Clinton did balance the budget, the *debt* remained.

All yearly budget deficits (often around $1T recently) are added to the debt, which is now over $23 TRILLION and growing by the second:

https://www.usdebtclock.org/

That's almost $71,000 for every man, woman, and child in America, $188,000 per taxpayer.

The total US debt is almost $76T -- or about $230,000 per U.S. citizen,

Call me crazy, but I don't see that getting paid off anytime soon.

Thomas Jefferson:

"Loading up the nation with debt and leaving it for the following generations to pay is morally irresponsible. Excessive debt is a means by which governments oppress the people and waste their substance. No nation has a right to contract debt for periods longer than the majority contracting it can expect to live."

"I sincerely believe... that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale." --Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1816. ME 15:23

"[With the decline of society] begins, indeed, the bellum omnium in omnia [war of all against all], which some philosophers observing to be so general in this world, have mistaken it for the natural, instead of the abusive state of man. And the fore horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression." --Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816. ME 15:40

jsklinelga

mrnatural

Great post. But what can we do? The fastest growing part of the budget is the interest on the debt.. And the acrimony and division in this country makes solving this problem more daunting.

mrnatural1

Thank you jsk.

I don't pretend to have any sort of answers, but some people might say the only way to get out of the hole is to increase revenue and/or decrease spending. Others, who seem very optimistic, claim that the economy will do so well that we won't have to do anything -- that the GDP will skyrocket and allow us to repay all of our debt. That seems unlikely to me, but I'm not an economist.

From where I sit, at a minimum we should eliminate the loopholes that allow corporations and the wealthy to get away with paying far less than their fair share -- and in some cases paying nothing at all.

Perhaps some sort of bipartisan spending law as well. Both parties like to spend money, they just have different priorities. It's not enough to have a cap, because then the kids fight over who gets to spend how much.

jsklinelga

People have commented that lower taxes on corporations is one reason for the spiraling deficit. Interesting fact. Of the 3.5 trillion dollar revenue corporation tax revenue only accounts for 7%. This is far outweighed by the nearly 1/2 trillion dollar interest on the national debt. Could you imagine what that would be if interest rates rise.

And another comment suggested that government employees actual have taken an income hit. They mentioned that wages were actually frozen for several years. I am sure many in the private sector would have liked to have their income frozen during that period. Instead of having an average 20 to 30 % wage loss. Much like climate change.it is always someone else's actions which cause our problems. Let us hope we find the wisdom and courage to stop our financial demise. It is not automatic.

shiftless88

Hi jsk; do you have a reference for this 20-30% wage loss? Is it for a comparable group? I mean, we need government workers whether the economy is growing or shrinking. Who do you think sorted out the spending of the stimulus, or the auto bailout, or the recent farmer bailout, or the military spending increases? As stated, most white collar professionals, particularly BS/BA degree or higher, earn less as a government employee than they would in private industry.

What, specifically, are you willing to give up?

jsklinelga

Shiftless88

Reference for 20 to 30% loss in wages. Real life. I really cannot believe you even asked. That in itself shows the real problem. I took the first example; Washington post :

"[M]any middle-class workers have lost their jobs and, if they have been able to secure new employment at all, find themselves earning far lower wages post-recession," the San Francisco Fed notes. "[O]n average over the next 25 years, these workers will earn 11% less than similar workers who retained their jobs through the recession."

hayduke2

Real life - so basically, you spout something and have no data to back it up. No wonder you love DJT, the master at it.

shiftless88

Interesting that the only data you show provides a substantially lower number than you originally stated. And this is only for those who lost jobs. As I mentioned, working for the government means you have better stability but lower wages for the highly educated.

shiftless88

You see, my real life friends did not receive a 20-30% loss of wages.

jsklinelga

Shiftless88

Common sense would tell you if the number is 11% over 25 years it would be far greater at the time of initial income loss. The article was about the large number of middle class workers who became lower class workers. I understand you not knowing. The recession had little effect on government workers.

public-redux

“... many in the private sector would have liked to have their income frozen during that period. Instead of having an average 20 to 30 % wage loss.”

An “average”? If private sector employees had an average wage loss of 20 to 30%, that would have shown up in BLS reports. Oh, right! You said “many”. Your favorite weasel word. Ok, how many? What percent of the private sector had an “average” wage loss of 20 to 30%? I can tell you that my (private sector) income kept going up during that period.

jsklinelga

public

You guys are beginning to border on the ridiculous. Short memories.And yes there were those that profited in the recession as there are always those that profit during times of misfortune. How many houses were lost? How many contractor service jobs all but disappeared?

sofanna

I would like know how much of our taxpayer $ has been spent to remove our President from office. This cannot be ignored as part of the irresponsibility of government spending.

awteam2000

Nowhere near as much as the 125 million spent on golf outings.

https://trumpgolfcount.com/

shiftless88

I am not sure, but I am almost positive it is less than any of these: 1) Benghazi investigations. 2) email investigations 3) golf trips by current POTUS 4) US dollars spent at Trump properties in the past three years 5) the amount spent on bailing out farmers because POTUS started a trade war with China.

hayduke2

So far, about 11 million dollars. Much less than the Benghazi and similar fiascos of the Republican party. MUCH less than the 12 billion to farmers because of the tariff wars. MUCH less than the 135+ million to cover Trump's golf outings. MUCH less than the amounts to provide security at his ego rallies. In fact, his recent Super Bowl party cost the taxpayers 3.5 million - BTW, did you see the video of him disrespecting the National Anthem? One source of many - https://finance.yahoo.com/news/much-taxes-were-spent-impeachment-100000109.html

Boyce Rensberger

I'm surprised that nobody here has yet pointed to the biggest reason for the deficit balooning--Trump's cutting taxes for the wealthiest corporations and individuals. The Congress, then under total Republican control, approved it and dropped the old pose of being deficit hawks. The deficit has nothing to do with Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. But, of course, the wealthiest don't need those programs, so ......

gabrielshorn2013

Boyce, yes and no. The five largest contributors to the national debt were: Franklin Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Ronald Reagan, G.W. Bush, Barack Obama. As a percentage of the debt, Trump has a 25% increase, Obama added 74%, G. Bush added 101%, Clinton added 32%.

https://www.thebalance.com/us-debt-by-president-by-dollar-and-percent-3306296

Our Presidents and the National Debt

https://fee.org/articles/our-presidents-and-the-national-debt/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIyaWBuaK45wIVkp-fCh1XFQDFEAAYASAAEgLAyfD_BwE

As far as the budget deficit, Obama had the highest deficit. When Obama took office in 2009, the federal budget deficit was $10.6 trillion. By the time he left office in 2017, the federal budget deficit had nearly doubled to $19.9 trillion. That's an increase of about 86%. George W. Bush took office in 2001 when the budget deficit was $5.7 trillion. When he left office in 2009, the deficit was $10.6 trillion. Ronald Reagan took office in 1981 and the federal deficit was $79 billion. When he left office in 1989, the deficit was $153 billion. Donald Trump took office in 2017 and the deficit was $665 billion.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, in fiscal year 2019 ending Sept. 30, 2019, the budget deficit totaled $984 billion. That was $205 billion more than the shortfall recorded in 2018. Measured as a share of GDP, the deficit increased to 4.6% in 2019. That up from 3.8% in 2018 and 3.5% in 2017.

https://www.thebalance.com/deficit-by-president-what-budget-deficits-hide-3306151

Boyce Rensberger

Thanks for the links. One shows that while Obama increased the deficit by the largest raw dollar amount, his increase was only the fifth largest in percentage terms. Much of Obama's deficit spending, of course, was to pull the country out of a potentially disastrous recession. It worked, putting the U.S. on a much better path than most of the rest of the industrial world. We're still enjoying the improvement in the economy.

My earlier comment, however, was about Trump increasing the deficit and debt to benefit the richest among us. He put future generations in debt to benefit the plutocrats now. Most corporations were already sitting on so much cash that they didn't plow the money into the economy but, instead, used it to buy back their own stock.

shiftless88

I think the point, though, is that this was a pointless deficit increase by reducing taxes but not spending in a time when the economy is doing well. Just like the last few Obama years. We should be increasing taxes if we cannot stop spending. Borrowing when you are doing well is silly as it reduces your ability to save yourself when things go badly.

Boyce Rensberger

Excellent points.

Moon otter

Correct but all wants their piece of the pie. Defense is killing us. It takes over 50% of the budget.

gabrielshorn2013

Moon otter, no.

"The Trump administration’s projected defense spending for 2020 is just over 15% of all federal government spending and about 3.2% of GDP. National defense spending averaged 5-10% of GDP during the Cold War decades."

https://www.brookings.edu/policy2020/votervital/is-us-defense-spending-too-high-too-low-or-just-right/

shiftless88

Gabe; that is if you count the entire budget, not the discretionary spending part. The latter is the only part that the President has any say on.

Moon otter

Also Obama had to add in the money from the Iraq war which wasn't accounted for under Bush Jr. budgets. This current president will be the ruin to the US.

threecents

You had me at last year's budget deficit was $984 billion. So while the economy has been doing well, we ran up our record debt, rather than paying our bills. What are we supposed to do when the next recession comes around - after the bubble bursts?

francesca_easa

I thought Clinton balanced the budget?

Moon otter

Bingo on your statement

Obadiah Plainsmen

Check your facts again, Medicare, Medicaid depend in part on federal revenue adding to the federal deficit. SS by law does not. Well that’s what Congress wants you to believe.

Blueline

William, have you been in a coma? It's been that way for 12 years, and longer. Until the citizens, of both parties, hold politicians accountable nothing will change because it's more politically expedient to throw money around and let someone in the future worry about it. We need a balanced budget amendment, term limits, and possibly both.

Obadiah Plainsmen

If the Feds are cutting social services in Frederick County, it is up to Frederick County to make up the difference. The responsibility of taking care of a village's hungry, homeless and sick belongs to that village not the nation. The nation has thousands of other villages with hungry, homeless, and sick are we too take care of them before our own? Don't blame America for Frederick County problems, Blame Frederick County.

BunnyLou

Democrats have had the power of the purse for a while now. Ask Nancy why the numbers are skyrocketing.

KellyAlzan

The cost for security detail for these unnecessary rallies is no joke. Only adds to the deficit

shiftless88

Bunny; you do not seem to understand how government works

Alice Jones

Is that any surprise, shift?

BunnyLou

I know how it works. President proposes a budget and the dems say it is DOA. Then they, dems, don’t do their job and submit their own budget.

awteam2000

BunnyLou, when Trump came to office 3 yrs. ago the house, senate and executive office was controlled by Republicans. Prior to that the Republicans controlled the house and senate. The democrats only gain the majority in the house in 2019. Without actions on the senate’s part, controlled by the republicans and led by McConnell, and leadership by the republican executive not much Pelosi can do.

Obadiah Plainsmen

Wrong again Aw, Pelosi got President Trump impeached. When it comes to fiscal responsibility there is plenty Pelosi can do. In fact the only thing President Trump and Pelosi agree on is spending taxpayer money. The only difference is I prefer a Republican spending us into oblivion and you prefer a Democrat.

Alice Jones

What a great philosophy you have.

Obadiah Plainsmen

Your cup of discontent must be getting low. So let me replenish it with I agree I do have a good philosophy on spending America into oblivion.

Alice Jones

However my cup of love for my country overflows. Your philosophy indicates yours does not. What a true American you are.

awteam2000

Trump got himself impeached. And what’s McConnell’s senate’s role when it comes to fiscal responsibility? None 🤷‍♂️

Between this year and last, U.S. farmers will receive about $27 billion in so-called aid (welfare) because of the Trump’s damaging policies.

hayduke2

Quit making stuff up Bunny...

Moon otter

Guess forgot about the Senate. It takes two chambers to pass a budget then appropriations which spends the money. Since we split appropriations into segments (departments) people forget what they have voted for and so the smaller appropriations get held up. Dept of Interior, Agriculture but not defense.

jsklinelga

Mr. Dolan,

Hard to argue with the popular mantra "help the less fortunate" Nor should we. But the hypocrisy is in the details. Just the other day I heard a government worker complain about the incredible waste in government spending, Not an isolated incident. We hear this constantly from Federal, State and local government workers.

And what about their pay. Here is an interesting clip: " The federal government has become an elite island of secure and high-paid employment separated from the ocean of average Americans competing in the economy."

And what about the Board of Education?

How often have you heard a united pleas from Federal, State or local workers to have their pay cut to help the disadvantaged? Or reduce their operating budgets? Instead from their secure island they plea to take other's money through higher taxes for this noble cause.

An accompanying article tells of a decline in church attendance. If we still studied the Bible we would know a lesson taught and retaught through the ages. Man is incapable of governing themselves absent of a higher authority. As we drive towards this cliff of economic self destruction just remember, we only have ourselves to blame.

shiftless88

Hey jsk; the waste is there, but it pales compared to the budgets. Trump just handed $12B to farmers; that is far more than any waste. As for pay, I do not know where you got that clip but it is factually incorrect. Did you know that Federal pay raises were frozen for years? Inflation kept on, so real pay decreased. It is true that some jobs in the federal workforce pay better than civilian when benefits are accounted for (have you calculated the pay of a Major in the Marines when benefits are accounted for?) but for a large percentage of the professional civil service, people with advanced degrees that manage huge programs, their pay is far less than private industry.

shiftless88

Your note also ignores that Federal workers also pay taxes. And if they make as much as you say they do, they pay even more in taxes. So how do you call that "other's money"??

phydeaux994

If you really studied the Bible jsk, you wouldn’t be a DJ Trump disciple.

knahs25

Once a Democrat becomes President, all of a sudden this debt will become a priority again, by Republicans.

Thewheelone

knahs25[thumbup][thumbup]

Blueline

And you will completely forget about it.

hayduke2

Yup! I would add that the Republicans will suddenly find "patriotism" again as well.

Moon otter

[thumbup]

phydeaux994

And Truth.

public-redux

I wonder if Republicans will flip flop on Russia again too.

hayduke2

I would take those odds...

Moon otter

[thumbup]

Moon otter

[thumbup]

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