By Tyler Bauer
Somehow, I missed this story when it first came out, but I came across it the other day and I wanted to talk about it. (I also didn’t have a blog back then, so the fact that I missed it doesn’t matter.)
The federal government plans to borrow nearly $1 trillion this fiscal year. This is nearly double last year’s amount borrowed, and this is the first fiscal year in which President Trump is fully in charge of the budget. So much for “fiscal conservatism,” right?
Why has borrowing increased?
The Republican Party controls both branches of government that can affect spending – the executive and legislative branches. Under Republican control of the budget, one would expect borrowing to decrease or, at the very least, remain constant. However, the fiscal conservatism promised by the Republican Party on the campaign trail is nowhere to be found.
So, why is the government borrowing more money than ever? According to the article I linked to above, it is because the government’s tax revenue is expected to be smaller this fiscal year due to tax cuts implemented under President Trump. According to Heather Long, the author of the article, the government is borrowing money to make up for this lost revenue. While it is true that tax revenue is expected to decrease this fiscal year, I don’t think Long really gets to the heart of the issue.
The issue isn’t a decrease in tax revenue. The issue is maintaining and increasing spending levels. If your paycheck decreases, do you take out a loan to support your current spending level? No! You find ways to cut down on your spending. You go out to eat less, go to Starbucks less, and do other things like that. However, the government disagrees – rather than trim the fat in its budget, it chooses to borrow the most it has ever borrowed. (For the record, I support any and all tax cuts, be we have to cut spending whenever we cut taxes.)
Looking Towards the Future
Sadly, the Chicago Tribune reports that this level of borrowing will not be short-lived. President Trump’s Treasure forecasts more than $1 trillion in both FY2019 and FY2020, respectively. At the same time, the annual budget deficit is expected to hit $1 trillion and remain constant for the time being.
Until the government learns to live within its means, they’ll be forced to borrow more and more. Call me a pessimist, but the national debt may never come down.