With Russiagate and the Kavanagh confirmation hearings consuming all of the mainstream media’s “bandwidth”, there is one very important aspect of Washington that is getting a pass from the media.
With Donald Trump having promised to “drain the swamp” and with the Republicans supposedly being the party of fiscal prudence, the latest press release from the United States Treasury Department should cause American taxpayers to question whether anything has really changed in Washington.
During and just after the Great Recession took hold of the United States economy, there was great concern about Washington’s growing debt and deficit problems. As you can see on this graph from FRED, just after the beginning of the Great Recession in December 2007, the growth rate of the federal debt accelerated markedly:
Just in case you were curious, here is the current debt-to-the penny:
Here is a graph showing a history of the federal surplus/deficit:
The most recent Monthly Treasury Statement from the Treasury Department for the month ending August 31, 2018 shows that little has changed under the new guard:
During one month alone, Washington had total outlays of $433 billion against total receipts of $219 billion leaving a shortfall of $214 billion or roughly one-third of the total deficit in fiscal 2017.
Let’s look at the fiscal picture for the first 10 months of fiscal year 2018:
Outlays totalled $3.883 trillion against total receipts of $2.985 trillion leaving a shortfall of $898 billion, a deficit that is now 35 percent higher than the deficit in fiscal 2017.
Here is a table showing a summary of receipts, outlays and surpluses/deficits for fiscal years 2017 and 2018:
Both the spending of $433.3 billion and the deficit of $214.15 billion are the highest monthly totals in the last two fiscal years as shown on this graphic:
In fact, when it comes to federal outlays, August’s total sets a new record as shown on this graphic from FRED:
As we can see, little has changed when it comes to Washington’s spending habits. It seems that no matter which party holds the reins of power, irresponsible fiscal management is the order of the day with the federal government, an issue that is likely to become worse with the impending tax cuts.
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