The United States federal budget deficit in February was the largest in history according to the Treasury Department, HuffPost reports. Despite Donald Trump’s promise to balance the budget within eight years, in the two years since he took office, the country’s total debt has increased by $2 trillion, with a $234 billion budget shortfall in February alone.
Analysts attribute the record-setting gap between spending and revenue with a combination of a dramatic drop in corporate tax revenue coupled with an increase in federal spending. The 2017 tax cuts championed by the president lowered corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 21 percent for a total tax package projected to cost an estimated $1.5 trillion.
“When you pass the most irresponsible tax cut followed by the most irresponsible spending increase, unsurprisingly it leads to the largest deficit numbers,” noted Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “Predictably, that’s exactly where we landed.”
The $234 billion budget gap in February broke the previous record of $231.7 billion which occurred under President Barack Obama. At that time, Trump was heavily critical of the president, taking to Twitter on multiple occasions.
“With a record deficit and $15 trillion in debt, @BarackObama is spending $4 million of our money on his Hawaii vacation. Just plain wrong,” Trump tweeted in 2011.
As new records are set in terms of both the deficit and the national debt, which is now at $22 trillion, Trump is likewise catching criticism regarding expensive travel, with time at Mar-a-Lago being similarly touted as an example of wasteful presidential spending.
This wasn’t the only example of Trump criticizing Obama on this topic.
“The deficits under
@BarackObama are the highest in America’s history,” Trump tweeted in 2012. “Why is he bankrupting our country?”
— The Hill (@thehill) March 23, 2019
While it is unclear whether Trump’s apparent divergent opinions on the danger of large budget deficits are simple partisan gamesmanship or part of a coherent economic philosophy, it is evident that experts in the area are concerned about the trend.
Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve Chairman, issued a warning to Congress just last month that the size of the overall federal debt is meaningful, and in this case problematic. Powell pointed out that right now United States debt is growing faster than the total gross domestic product (GDP), a dangerous and ultimately unsustainable trajectory.
A big contributing factor to this equation is the deficits’ share of GDP, which is projected to be 5.1 percent by the end of this year, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget.