Editors at National Review Online take a critical look at the federal government’s finances.

According to a report by the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. is now facing a deficit of $1.9 trillion for the 2024 fiscal year — up $400 billion from its February estimates.

The bulk of the changes came from an increase in spending on student loans thanks to the Biden administration’s debt-forgiveness action, higher-than-expected spending on Medicaid, and the recently passed foreign-aid bill — all of which added to an already grim fiscal outlook.

Biden has repeatedly insisted that he has cut $1 trillion from deficits and that his budget would cut $3 trillion more. Both claims are deceptive.

The promised deficit savings in his budget depend on enacting offsets that remain unspecified. The assertion that he has cut $1 trillion from deficits is based on taking the peak Covid-era deficit (which he contributed to) and comparing it to deficits once the pandemic passed.

A better way to measure Biden’s performance is to consider the CBO’s projections when he took office and compare that to the latest CBO report. By this measure, the Biden record is much less flattering. Cumulatively, over the 2021 to 2024 period, deficits are now $2.6 trillion higher than what CBO had projected for the same period in February 2021, before any Biden policies had gone into effect.

We wish we could say that Donald Trump is providing a clear contrast with Biden when it comes to tackling the deficit problem. Unfortunately, neither Trump’s record nor his current rhetoric inspires much confidence.

Applying the same standard as above, by the end of the 2019 fiscal year — i.e., before Covid started — Trump had added $800 billion to deficits relative to what the CBO projected when he took office. Add in the pandemic spending of 2020, and that would bring the figure to over $3.1 trillion.