Consider America’s annual budget deficit in another way: The red ink for a single year could fund St. Joseph’s municipal government, at current spending levels, until the year 8761.
The Congressional Budget Office, which provides nonpartisan analyses of revenue and spending matters for the U.S. government, reported Wednesday that the federal deficit will be an average $1.2 trillion in each of the years between 2020 and 2029.
The deficit for the current fiscal year will hit $960 billion.
“The nation’s fiscal outlook is challenging,” Phillip L. Swagel, the CBO’s director, said in a statement released with the report.
He regarded federal debt as on “an unsustainable course,” one foreseen as worsening in the next decade because of an aging population, increased spending on health care and rising costs from interest on the debt.
“To put it on a sustainable course, lawmakers will have to make significant changes to tax and spending policies, making revenues larger than they would be under current law, reducing spending below projected amounts or adopting some combination of those approaches,” Swagel said.
Putting a local perspective on the national numbers, the projected annual deficits would:
Fund the City of St. Joseph, at 2019 spending levels, for 6,742 years
Fund the St. Joseph School District for 9,160 years.
Pay off the St. Joseph Blacksnake Creek Combined Sewage Project 17,910 times over.
Add $3,642 to the debt owed by every man, woman and child in St. Joseph (and every American), or about $280 million for this one community.
The CBO said its projections changed with congressional passage earlier this month, and with President Trump’s signature, of the Bipartisan Budget Act, a measure lifting the debt ceiling for another two years, eliminating a possible government shutdown beyond the 2020 elections.
It also added $320 billion in spending beyond current levels.
U.S. Reps. Sam Graves, of North Missouri, and Steve Watkins, whose district includes Northeast Kansas, both voted against the measure in the U.S. House.
Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri and Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran voted for approval of the budget bill, while Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley voted in opposition. All the lawmakers are Republicans.
“When the entire federal budget depends on four or five people striking a deal among themselves, something is not right,” Hawley said at the time of the budget deliberations. “The budget process has collapsed, and that collapse is breaking Congress.”
Organizations focused on federal budget accountability reacted to the report’s release on Wednesday.
“Between the budget deal, the tax cuts (of 2017) and other recent unpaid-for legislation, policymakers have roughly doubled near-term deficits over just the past few years,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the bi-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
Mark M. Zandi, co-founder and chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, said on C-SPAN Thursday morning that the federal tax cuts that took effect last year have not supported business investment as intended.
“Budget deficits and debt are rising very, very rapidly,” he said regarding the CBO report. “Debt loads are going to rise. ... If the starve-the-beast kind of theory has any validity, it’s certainly not working because the size of the U.S. government is increasing very rapidly.”