- The Washington Times - Friday, October 25, 2019

The federal deficit swelled to $984 billion in fiscal 2019, an increase of $205 billion from the previous year, the Treasury Department said Friday.

The nearly $1 trillion deficit was 4.6% of gross domestic product, compared with 3.8% in fiscal 2018.

President Trump came into office promising to eliminate the federal debt within eight years, and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said the latest deficit numbers show Washington must do better.

“In order to truly put America on a sustainable financial path, we must enact proposals—like the president’s 2020 budget plan—to cut wasteful and irresponsible spending,” he said.

The president’s current budget proposal wouldn’t balance the federal budget within a decade, much less address the national debt that has climbed to more than $22 trillion.

Mr. Mnuchin and Office of Management and Budget acting Director Russ Vought emphasized the strong economy in their statements on the deficit.

“President Trump’s economic agenda is working: the nation is experiencing the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 50 years, there are more jobs to fill than there are job seekers, and Americans are experiencing sustained year-over-year wage increases,” Mr. Mnuchin said.

Mr. Vought said the president’s budget includes “more deficit reduction than any administration in history—saving $2.8 trillion over 10 years.”

“Americans from all walks of life are flourishing again thanks to pro-growth policies enacted by this administration,” Mr. Vought said. “By providing a responsible fiscal path forward and pursuing pro-growth reforms, President Trump’s agenda will make America’s economic expansion enduring.

The fiscal 2019 deficit was $107 billion less than the estimate of $1.092 trillion in the fiscal 2020 budget, the officials said, and $16 billion less than the estimate published in July.

Mitch Daniels, co-chair of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said the nation’s finances are “at a turning point.”

“Our nation’s leaders are in debt denial, running up red ink all while ignoring trillions of dollars in shortfalls for Social Security, Medicare, and other programs that many millions of Americans rely upon,” said Mr. Daniels, former head of OMB under President George W. Bush.

“Without action now to phase in reforms over the coming years, Americans will face a much different future than the one that was promised. We can’t wait for another year or another Congress or another president to tackle these challenges.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide