Every month the U.S. Treasury releases data on the federal budget, including the current deficit. The following contains budget data for August 2019, which is the 11th month of fiscal year 2019.
The deficit for August 2019 was $14 billion smaller than that recorded in August 2018. While outlays in both of those months were increased by shifts in the timing of certain federal payments, the effect was larger in August 2018 than in August 2019. Without those shifts, the August 2019 deficit would have been $5 billion larger than it was a year ago.
The cumulative deficit through the first 11 months of FY19 was $169 billion larger than it was through the same period in FY18. That reflects a $272 billion increase in outlays, partially offset by a $103 billion increase in receipts.
While the deficit varies from month-to-month and some months may even record a surplus — for example, in April, when taxpayers are submitting their personal income taxes — debt and deficits are on an unsustainable upward trajectory. The CBO projects that national debt could rise to about 140 percent of gross domestic product by 2049. That level of debt would far exceed the 50-year historical average of approximately 40 percent of GDP.
Why are such high levels of debt so concerning? There are many reasons that Americans should be concerned about the rising national debt — particularly if you are concerned about economic growth, investments in our nation’s future, and preservation of our social safety net.