America’s National Debt Will Be Larger Than the Economy Next Year
When the federal government’s fiscal year ends on the last day of September, America’s national debt will nearly match the size of the nation’s economy for the first time since the end of World War II, according to projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
The national debt will equal 98 percent of America’s gross domestic product, a rough measurement of the size of the country’s economic output, by the end of the current fiscal year, the CBO says in an updated budgetary outlook released Wednesday. The debt will continue to grow and will exceed the size of the economy by this time next year before eventually reaching 108 percent of the size of the economy in 2030.
The national debt has been rising for two decades, but it surged this year as emergency coronavirus response spending caused the federal budget deficit—the gap between what the government spends and how much it collects in tax revenue in a single year—to explode. The CBO now expects the deficit for this year to hit $3.3 trillion. That’s more than three times larger than the deficit for the fiscal year that ended in September 2019. The budget deficit for the month of June alone exceeded every annual budget deficit during the George W. Bush administration.
But while the coronavirus might have made the federal budget situation worse, it really only accelerated trends that were already well established. As Reason‘s Matt Welch noted last week, spending under President Donald Trump surged by $937 billion in less than four years—and that was before Congress authorized trillions in emergency coronavirus spending. The Trump administration’s tax cuts, while well-intentioned, also added to the budget deficit because they were not offset by spending cuts. It
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