A Deep Ditch

Press Release
Monday, February 10, 2020

WASHINGTON -- Today, Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition, issued the following statement about the President's Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal:

What the president’s budget does best is illustrate how deep the fiscal ditch has become over the past three years and how difficult it will be to get out of it without putting everything on the table. 

It is instructive to compare past Trump Administration budgets with this year’s. In the president’s first budget, his Office of Management and Budget (OMB) projected a deficit of $456 billion (2 percent of GDP) in 2021. His latest budget projects a deficit of $966 billion (4.1 percent of GDP) in 2021. The rapidly deteriorating change comes from about $300 billion less in projected revenues and $200 billion more in projected spending. 

A goal of reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio is sound and the Administration's targeted level (66 percent in 2030) is not beyond possibility if a concerted effort is made. That effort, however, would require bipartisan participation, which the lopsided nature of the deficit reduction proposed in this budget is not aimed to produce. Even with rosy economic assumptions and proposed spending discipline that flies in the face of recent experience, the president’s budget would still be in deficit over the next 10 years.