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U.S. Deficit Grows to $779 Billion, Wake-Up Call for Policymakers

Monday, October 15, 2018

Washington, D.C.– The U.S. government deficit grew to a staggering $779 billion in fiscal year 2018, a 17 percent ($113 billion) increase over the previous year, according to the Treasury Department. Two factors contributing to the highest federal deficit in six years were tax cuts and the bipartisan agreement increasing defense and domestic spending.

“We must honestly ask: are policymakers asleep at the wheel?” G. William Hoagland, senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said.

“Rising deficits will impact future policy decisions that will directly affect American families, whether in the form of higher taxes or reduced government services and benefits,” Hoagland said. “We have warned about this for years and policymakers must make the hard decisions to stop the fiscal situation from becoming even worse.”

The Congressional Budget Office, BPC’s Economic Policy Project, and other experts have long predicted increasing deficits. CBO’s latest projection is that the deficit for FY2019 will balloon to $973 billion.

But that estimate is probably still too low.

“Over the course of the next year, new spending priorities will dig the hole deeper,” Hoagland added. “Damage from unforeseen natural disasters such as hurricanes will also require federal assistance and add to the growing deficit.”

Deficits and debt have barely been mentioned on the campaign trail. “As we approach the midterm elections, there is disturbingly little talk of what either party plans to do about the deficit. This should worry all of us,” Hoagland said.

“The fact that our government is closing in on trillion-dollar deficits in the midst of an economic expansion should be a serious issue for voters and candidates,” Hoagland said.