by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released new budget forecasts this summer that show the nation falling into an ever deeper financial hole. Unfortunately, very few Americans are aware this is happening. The media is distracted and hasn’t covered the federal budget outlook the way it has in prior years. Meanwhile, policymakers are acting as if the budget problem doesn’t exist because they don’t want to take responsibility for solving it.
The Trump administration’s new forecast, called the “mid-session review,” shows a sharp deterioration in the 10-year budget outlook compared to the projection released by OMB earlier this year. In February, OMB estimated that the federal government would run a cumulative “baseline” deficit over the period 2019 to 2028 of $10.8 trillion, assuming current laws and polices remain unchanged during this period. OMB’s new estimates, released in July, show a baseline deficit over the same period of $11.8 trillion, or $1 trillion more than was projected just six months ago.
OMB’s estimates of deficits based on the president’s proposals show a similar erosion. In February, the agency estimated that the president’s budget would produce a cumulative deficit of $7.1 trillion over the period 2019 to 2028. In the mid-session review, the estimated 10-year deficit for the president’s budget is $8.0 trillion.
Trump officials have had very little to say about rising deficits and debt, beyond a vague promise from National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow that the administration will be tougher on federal spending in the future. The president never brings the subject up in public.