Federal government revenue is 85 percent funded by income taxes and payroll taxes for social programs such as Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance.

Federal revenue did not experience a reduction as a result of tax law changes that went into effect in January 2018. Total revenue increased in each of the two fiscal years since the law passed.

For perspective, in the 60 years since 1959, federal government revenue has increased every year from prior years except in 1971, 2001, 2002 and 2003. In 1971, there was a short deep recession, and 2001-2003 was the aftermath of the near financial collapse of 2000.

In the last 20 years, the federal government’s annual revenue has increased 89 percent, from $1.82 trillion in 1999 to $3.44 trillion in 2019.

Over that same 20-year time frame, federal government spending increased 266 percent, from $1.701 trillion in 1999 to $4.529 trillion in 2019.

With expenditures increasing exponentially faster than revenue, this could realistically lead to a more pervasive and long-lasting financial collapse than the one that occurred 20 years ago.

And yet, in this federal election year, none of the candidates running for congressional seats or the presidency have acknowledged this looming fiscal implosion. Nor, of course, proposed remedies.

We can lament and quibble about who and how we got here, but that won’t mitigate the issue.

Our best prospects are to vote for candidates who will commit to fiscal prudence.

Ellis Kitchen

Frederick

(32) comments

public-redux

I’m curious why this letter omitted the financial crisis of 2008.

threecents

Like Trump said, "Debt is valuable in good times, but can come back to bite you in bad times." That is his personal experience - with bankruptcy being an option that he used several times.

DickD

:With expenditures increasing exponentially faster than revenue, this could realistically lead to a more pervasive and long-lasting financial collapse than the one that occurred 20 years ago." That has been my contention all along. We are now paying more for a good economy to help get Trump elected.

Moon otter

tax reform only benefited the rich. time to go back to the pretax period of t rump and increase the rich but 10% also if they hide the money off shore they go to jail and rot.

jsklinelga

DickD

There is no doubt President Trump made some compromises to push through his tax cuts. But the economy has been stimulated and is running on all cylinders. If cuts are going to be made in the social programs that ballooned under President Obama no doubt tax increases will have to be put on the table and/or vice versa. .In his second term President Trump will have an excellent opportunity to do this. This would return us to a more fiscal sensible policy. If President Trump does not attack the budget deficit starting in the first year of his second term he will start to lose some of his core base support.

shiftless88

jsk; I respectfully request data to back up the stimulation you claim is due to the tax cuts. In fact, tax revenue is barely growing, GDP is stagnant at a level far lower than promised, and manufacturing has decreased. In fact, tax revenue increased faster under most of the years of Obama than they have since 2017. We got one "sugar high" year and are now back down. Most economic trends were as good or better for the last several years under Obama.

shiftless88

jsk; I just want to point out that if Trump is elected this year he is immediately a lame duck and loses a lot of leverage. If he couldn't get what he wanted in the first two years, he will not get it in the last four.

sofanna

Sorry for the typos.

sofanna

It is important to remember that 7 out of 8 years, the Government didn't have a budget! There are many people who owe millions in taxes and haven't paid. The IRS doesn't need more money, they need to after the people who don't pay their taxes, since they believe they are above the laws of our Country. Social Security and Medicare are paid for by the taxpayers and their employers, yet we are the ones who receive much less then what we've paid, as mandated by our Government. Our mandated Government funds get taken and used for undocumented (PC) individuals living in our Country and others who cheat the system.

Candidates talking about Medicare for all are don't care about how it will financially hurt those who've paid the mandated Social Security and Medicare tax all their lives. Tax reform was supposed to help the "middle class" which is shrinking.

Consider why there are more homeless people and children not provided for.

Moon otter

tax reform only benefited the rich. time to go back to the pretax period of t rump and increase the rich but 10% also if they hide the money off shore they go to jail and rot.

Dwasserba

"And yet, in this federal election year, none of the candidates running for congressional seats or the presidency have acknowledged this looming fiscal implosion." How many readers even made it to this sentence. Anaesthesia, anyone?

seanjames

the deficit is all but meaningless, and if you really care about reducing it how about we increase the tax rate to the pre-1960 levels and decrease the bloated defense budget, which is only about lining the pockets of pre-selected contractors and has nothing to do with "defense"

gary4books

Sean - defense is impotant, but even more wat is going to a "wall" th will never slow any who cross by bus or air. We might as well build a pyramid on the southern border and name it "Trump."

collinsm65

The deficit is not meaningless, and the DEBT is what is going to eventually drown this nation. Tax giveaways like we've seen aren't helping as it's a fleecing of the nation's assets at the expense of all the rest of us (including those stupid enough to not understand who did the giveaways and to whom and why). We were well off without the debt or deficit not that long ago, and even better off when we taxed the bejesus out of the uber wealthy and they STILL contributed to the overall economy, jobs and the whole lot...which they do not do now....they offshore it.

hayduke2

And how a bout a real, independent audit of military spending??

Jim Hartley

According to Wikipedia, the economy of the US grew 225% (in constant dollars) in the past 20 years, yet according to Mr. Ellis government revenue grew only 89%. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_United_States#GDP.

Most of our rising deficit is due to lower taxes, not increased spending.

shiftless88

Revenue as a percentage of GDP has been level for a while. The tax boost didn't really change that equation like they claimed it would.

gary4books

Jim - [thumbup][thumbup]

gary4books

What are my chances of a tax audit this year? Most observers say it is about two percent. In the past I have been audited twice and presented my case and once I paid thirty dollars more. My tax returns were good. Not everyone can say that. Estimates are that if everyone paid what tye owe, we would not have a deficit in spending. I suggest that we fund the IRS to do reasonable checks on tax returns and go to collect taxes due.

jsklinelga

Mr. Kitchen,

Politics. Allan Greenspan criticized George Bush for allowing politics to interfere with prudent financial decisions. He had high praise for Bill Clinton.

Greenspan was a close friend of Ayn Rand and part of a group that read Atlas Shrugged as it was being written. Anyone that has read Atlas Shrugged knows that it is the quintessential anti-socialist book. It was rumored with the likes of men like David Stockman, a leading proponent of Reaganomics, and Greenspan that the best way to kill socialism was to cripple the government with debt. Essentially the government could only be able to provide a police force, a military and a justice system. They may be on the road to success.

We cannot afford our social programs. Coupled with the debt interest they consume a major chunk of our budget. We certainly cannot afford Medicare for all. We cannot afford a public education system in our communities that takes a major part of local revenue and leverages future revenue with an unfunded pension position.

But all is bright as the presses continue to roll. Mr. Kitchen politicians like David Trone nor Michael Bloomberg who buy elections will ever attack this problem. They make money off of their politics. I predict that once Donald Trump wins re-election ensuring the further changing of the courts his supporters will start attacking his budget policies. Then we will see if his political charisma and political acumen and his desire for his legacy and the love of country will be able to attack the debt problem head on. But it seems to be a near impossible task.

shiftless88

jsk; how is it that we, the greatest country in the world, cannot seem to manage single--payer health care when basically all other modern nations make it work? Could it be that we spend nearly a trillion on the military (noting that they have their own medicare-for-all health care system)?? After social security (which is solvent at the moment) military spending is our largest single expenditure.

collinsm65

We spend way too much on medicare that isn't negotiable for much of it (thanks to lobbyists and bought politicians, and we gave the rest away in tax breaks that should be put into infrastructure and national investments in science and education (which we know bloody well increases the tax base because education and science has shown over and over again when people know and use it, they make more $ and contribute more taxes).

shiftless88

Note that what Trump wants most is to have an adoring crowd cheer him on. If his budget is implemented, they will not cheer him on. This is why he proposes a budget he know has zero chance of passing but when handed a budget bill that greatly increases the deficit yet again (it has doubled since about 2016 from around $500B to 1T) he happily signs it. He does not have the stones to stand up and fight for anything, as seen with prescription drug prices and gun control.

jsklinelga

Shitless88

Let me jump at the chance to partially agree with you. I am not sure "stones" is correct. Maybe political stones. The President is hogtied by Congress who passes the budget. But I believe you are correct. He loves to be adored. I hope that the desire for his legacy to be adored will be motivation to attack our budget deficit.

shiftless88

The average person does not care about the budget deficit until it visibly impacts them. If the VA cuts back, the military drops by 20%, if medicare and medicaid are cut in half; then they will notice and complain. So Trump and Republicans talk a big game but when it comes time to do something, they cave. For two years Trump had a Congress that he controlled and he did nothing to address the budget deficit. He is NOT hogtied by Congress. They can influence things, sure, but any savvy dealmaker should have done much better.

awteam2000

JSK, If I’m not mistaken, Trump had both the Republican House and Senate behind him for his first two years in office. That’s when they past the huge ‘corporate socialist’ tax cuts that were put in place permanently, accelerating the deficit. Bestowing money grants, tax breaks, deregulation or other special favorable treatment for corporations over the average citizen. Meanwhile solidifying his base with a ‘white nationalist’ agenda. ‘Populism’.

DickD

We can't afford Trump's tax cuts, Jim, that is what we cannot afford!

francesca_easa

Thank you Ellis. A balanced budget should be law for EVERY federal, state, city, county government

shiftless88

There are times when borrowing is necessary and important in an economy.

DickD

But not now!

collinsm65

There are times when taxing the wealthy like they SHOULD be and USED TO BE taxed is a necessary thing. Which is pretty much always.

gary4books

Budgets are tools and to balanced one is a straight jacket on our Congress. Some years need a surplus and others need to spend more. Since we print our money and it is a world currency, we can do this.

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