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The Politics Behind Permanent Trillion-Dollar Deficits

Yuval Rosenberg

U.S. President Donald Trump (C) gathers with Vice President Mike Pence (R) and Congressional Republicans in the Rose Garden of the White House after the House of Representatives approved the American Healthcare Act, to repeal major parts of Obamacare and replace it with the Republican healthcare plan, in Washington, U.S., May 4, 2017. 

Budget Guy Stan Collender writes that budget deficits under the Trump administration are projected to hit $1 trillion in 2020 — and keep rising to $1.5 trillion in fiscal 2028.

“But what’s most important,” Collender adds, “is that, no matter what Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney or any elected official may tell you, there’s not much that Congress and the White House will be willing to do about this.”

Tax increases, spending cuts or faster economic growth could all change the deficit outlook, but political realities mean those changes aren’t happening, Collender writes:

  • There’s no tax increase on the horizon. Period.
  • The trillion dollar deficits are already based on high economic growth.
  • In the current hyper-partisan environment, military spending is uncuttable.
  • That same hyper-partisan environment makes Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid almost as uncuttable.
  • The incontrovertible coming demographic changes mean that spending for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will increase under current law.

The bottom line, according to Collender: “Trump’s trillion dollar budget deficits are permanent changes in the United States’s fiscal future.”

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