Every month the U.S. Treasury releases data on the federal budget, including the current deficit. The following contains budget data for October 2019, which was the first month of fiscal year (FY) 2020.
The deficit for October 2019 was $34 billion larger than that recorded in October 2018. In October 2019, outlays were $27 billion higher and revenues were $7 billion lower, than they were in October 2018.
The projected increase in this year’s deficit reflects a growing gap between spending and revenues that has been exacerbated by the fiscal effects of policies enacted in recent years.
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.