The Federal deficit

The federal deficit for fiscal 2019 reached close to $1 trillion ($984 billion) for the first time since 2012, according to final Treasury Department figures released Friday.  This is more than $200 billion, or 20 percent, higher than last year.

The deficit has only surpassed $1 trillion four times in the nation’s history, recently  during the four-year stretch following the 2008 global financial crisis. Treasury forecasts that the 2020 deficit wIll amount to $1.045 trillion. 

While the main drivers of the deficit are mandatory programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, the  GOP tax law added substantially to the deficit by scaling back revenues, to the benefit of the rich.

The  nation’s total debt now stands above $22 trillion, rising as far into the future as anyone can see.  As a result, interest costs are the fastest growing program in the federal budget, reaching  $376 billion, larger than the combined cost of veterans benefits and services and education, and more than half as much as the cost of defense.

My comment:  During a period with a booming economy one expects the deficit to decline and to leave room for the government to take expansionary measures in a future recession.  This frantic spending is irresponsible, reckless and unsustainable . What  has this to do with Epicureanism?  When the resulting crash comes, probably during the next Administration, it will cause havoc and hardship, maybe worse that the recession of 2008.  We deserve better financial management and the peace of mind of knowing that we can go about our lawful business without mass bankruptcies, upset trade, homelessness and other hallmarks of financial catastrophe.

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