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At the end of 2014, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) put together 14 charts to describe the budget of the U.S. government. We’re just going to look at the first two, in reverse order, since they tell the big story about the consequences of federal overspending the way it needs to be told.
The first chart shows each of the federal government’s annual budget deficits from 2002 through 2014, with projections to 2025:
In just 10 years time, even if there are no major fiscal crises or recessions that could unpredictably inflate the federal government’s annual budget deficits above projected levels, it is very likely that they will increase to exceed the all-time record deficit recorded during 2009.
As you might expect, those deficits will add up each year, with the result having major consequences for the growth of the national debt.
The nice thing about the way the CFRB visualizes the Congressional Budget Office’s projected data is that it shows both the CBO’s “extended baseline” projection, which is based on how the federal government would spend money under the law as it currently stands (the way U.S. politicians have “promised” they will), and the “alternative fiscal scenario”, which represents how much the federal government’s annual deficits and the growth of the national debt will be if U.S. politicians actually spend money they way they actually do.
And that doesn’t even include new spending, such as President Obama’s proposal to make the first two years’ worth of community-college class tuition “free” to high school graduates. That particular proposal carries a price tag of at least $60 billion and amounts to little more than a bailout of failed K-12 government education programs, since the typical classes that a community college student takes in his or her first two years amounts to little more than a remedial education program of subjects that they failed to learn in high school but were allowed to graduate anyway.
In the end, it’s the sort of poorly considered spending by politicians seeking to boost their personal popularity that will only crank up the nation’s budget deficits and national debt with very little benefit to show in return.
Which coincidentally, is how we got the growing problems of annual federal budget deficits and national debt that we have in the first place!