WASHINGTON (AP) – The government ran a budget deficit of just under $1 trillion in the just-closed fiscal year, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday.
The $984 billion deficit tally for 2019 came in more than $200 billion more than last year’s, despite very low unemployment and continuing economic growth.
Many mainstream economists have long taken the position that deficits and the nation’s $22 trillion national debt are unsustainable. CBO noted that deficits have been growing faster than the size of the economy for four years in a row, ending 2019 at 4.7 percent of gross domestic product.
Others say deficits are manageable and note continued low interest rates despite steadily growing debt.
There’s no appetite in Washington to try politically painful medicine to deal with the deficit. Democrats have noted the spike in deficits since President Donald Trump’s tax cut plan was passed in 2017, while Trump has promised not to touch popular retirement benefits like Social Security and Medicare.
Though the deficit has yet to hit the symbolic $1 trillion mark it registered during former President Barack Obama’s first term, it could jump if the economy slides into a recession.
The Treasury Department will release the final deficit figures mid-month. CBO’s preliminary estimate is based on daily Treasury reports.