Get ready for Republican screeching about cutting Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security (after the midterms, of course). Because a new Congressional Budget Office estimate showing how much the deficit has increased since they passed the tax scam law signals that it’s time for them to pretend the deficit matters again.
The CBO says that the federal deficit increased by 20 percent in just the first 10 months of the 2018 fiscal year. Spending outpaced revenue to the federal government by $682 billion from October 1, 2017 to the end of last month, a $116 billion increase over the same period last year. While tax revenues from individuals rose (get that? Regular people are being taxed more) corporate taxes have fallen—a lot. That, combined with the spending bill passed in March which increased budget caps on both domestic and defense spending, has resulted in the deficit hike.
So that promise from Trump and the Republicans that a corporate tax cut would stimulate so much growth that the deficit would come down isn’t happening. What a shock. The CBO doesn’t see a turnaround in the situation, either, estimating a $793 billion deficit by the end of this year and more than $1 trillion in 2019.
A large deficit isn’t in and of itself a terrible thing. If that deficit was a result of a surge in spending in people to increase employment, provide access to health care, cut higher education expenses, or any myriad other programs that could boost private income and spending and boost the economy, that would be one thing. But this one, built on massive corporate tax cuts being plowed back into said corporations for executive bonuses and stockholder enrichment? This one is bullshit.
And that bullshit is going to be used by Republicans—again—to try to decimate all the social insurance programs, whether it’s food stamps or health care. And they’ll probably try to do it after the election, in the lame duck session. They’ve set up the 2019 budget bill with a broad reconciliation instructions that require $302 billion in mandatory program spending cuts, mandatory programs being things like Medicaid and Medicare. That reconciliation would allow the Senate to pass the bill with a simple majority, preventing a Democratic filibuster.
So the next time you hear a Republican scream about the deficit, tell them this: It’s your fault, and you’re not going to use it to destroy the safety net.