The federal deficit hit $895 billion in the first 11 months of fiscal 2018, an increase of $222 billion, or 32 percent, over the same period the previous year, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
The nonpartisan CBO reported that the central drivers of the increasing deficit were the Republican tax law and the bipartisan agreement to increase spending. As a result, revenue only rose 1 percent, failing to keep up with a 7 percent surge in spending, it added.
Revenue from individual and payroll taxes was up some $105 billion, or 4 percent, while corporate taxes fell $71 billion, or 30 percent.
The August statistics were somewhat inflated, however, due to a timing shift for certain payments, putting the deficit measure through August slightly out of sync with the previous year, the CBO noted. Had it not been for the timing shift, the deficit would have increased $154 billion instead of $222 billion.
Earlier analysis from CBO projected that deficits would near $1 trillion in 2019 and surpass that amount the following year.
Let’s take a little trip down memory lane:
ONCE YOU EARN a reputation as a Serious Man in Washington, it’s almost impossible to lose it. In January 2011, a trio of organizations that preach fiscal responsibility held a gala at the Newseum, D.C.’s gleaming shrine to the media. Alan Greenspan; Doug Elmendorf, the head of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO); and a bunch of lobbyists and political strategists shuffled in to witness the presentation of a new award, “the Fiscy,” which, according to Concord Coalition president Robert Bixby, was intended to “provide some recognition and credit to those who have the guts to answer [questions about the debt] with something more than platitudes.” One of the three inaugural recipients was Paul Ryan, who, Bixby announced, had “earned his Fiscy Award really by being the first [congressman] in several years to step forward with a specific scorable budget plan that would actually solve the nation’s long-term structural deficits.”
This is from a 2012 Alec MacGillis article, that pointed out in the politest possible terms that Ryan’s reputation as some sort of whiz kid deficit hawk was a bunch of bologna. But that didn’t stop several more years of worshipful elite media coverage, since as MacGillis pointed out, once a Very Serious Person always a VSP. I bet right now there will be a bunch of valedictories to Ryan when he sails off to a remunerative sunset at the end of this Congressional term, lamenting that Paul Ryan’s sincere commitment to cutting the deficit was tragically short-circuited by something — anything — other than his fealty to the only thing that has actually ever mattered to him, which is cutting taxes for the rich as much as inhumanly possible.