Biden Falsely Bragged About Lowering the Budget Deficit. Now, It Is Predictably Rising Again.
In a speech delivered one year ago this week, President Joe Biden took credit for what he called “the largest drop ever” in the federal budget deficit.
“Let me remind you again: I reduced the federal deficit,” Biden said. “All the talk about the deficit from my Republican friends, I love it. I’ve reduced $350 billion in my first year in office. And we’re on track to reduce it by the end of September by another 1 trillion 500 billion dollars—the largest drop ever.”
As Reason—and others in the media—pointed out, this was a wild exaggeration. Biden had done nothing to reduce the deficit. In fact, policies enacted since he’d taken office had caused the federal government to borrow more, not less, than it otherwise would have. The lower federal deficit total in 2022 relative to the two previous years resulted from expiring one-time emergency expenditures during the COVID-19 pandemic, which had swelled the deficit to record highs.
In short, 2022 was a major outlier from the trend of growing budget deficits—a trend that had started before the pandemic and that was projected to reemerge after the tsunami of federal academic borrowing had passed. “The deficit will begin rising again next year and will rise faster and higher than it would have before Biden took office,” I wrote in June of last year.
Well, the deficit is rising again.
Rising spending and lower-than-expected tax collections over the first seven months of the federal government’s fiscal year (which began on October 1) have caused the budget deficit to hit $928 billion so far, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) latest monthly report. That’s nearly three times larger than the $360 billion deficit recorded during the same seven months in the previous fiscal year.
Net tax collections are down about 10 percent compared to last year, the CBO notes, while spending has increased by about 8 percent. That’s a recipe for a growing deficit, which is ultimately nothing more than the gap between how much the government spends and how much it collects in taxes. The gap is only going to keep growing in future years, according to the CBO’s long-term projections.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonprofit that advocates for small deficits, points out that the federal government has rung up a deficit of nearly $2 trillion over the
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