Actions speak louder than words.
Despite the president’s budget projections in successive years, the deficit, and resulting debt have grown. Specious spending reductions, juiced economic growth projections, and dubious estimates that extended tax cuts pay for themselves, are not a recipe for fiscal responsibility. The numbers speak for themselves. While the economy has continued growing, the deficit has grown at an even faster rate. During this administration, the deficit grew from 3.1 percent of GDP in 2016 to 3.4 percent in 2017 to 3.8 percent in 2018 and 4.6 percent in 2019. During that same period GDP has gone from $18.7 trillion to $21.4 trillion.
This budget request, once again, promises to turn the tide. Yet the administration has thus far shown no dedication to its responsible budgetary outlines. Instead, over the past few years it has readily agreed to big increases in both domestic and defense spending while forcing steep revenue cuts. And while in this budget request the portion of Pentagon spending that is stuffed into the “off-budget” Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account is down slightly (from $72 billion last year to $69 billion this year) the administration’s plan is to plow the bulk of OCO into base spending in future years and cut non-defense discretionary spending by increasing amounts. The budget promises to reduce agriculture’s dependence on corporate welfare subsidies but while the administration directs billions of dollars in a deficit-financed attempt to paper over the farm sector damage from the trade war. Further the budget avoids any substantive engagement on ensuring taxpayers can fulfill promises made under soon-to-be underwater mandatory entitlements.
Spending increases today coupled with unrealistic promised restraint tomorrow will not achieve a government that operates within its means. It doesn’t make sense.
Statement based on released budget summary tables, available here.