Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Thanks lagely to the Republican Party and Donald Trump’s Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, the federal budget deficit of $598 billion for the first half of the 2018 fiscal year ending March 31 is almost as large as the deficit for the entire 2017-2018 fiscal year. The total deficit for 2017 came to $665 billion.
Ballooning expenses and heavily depleted federal revenues caused the federal budget deficit to jump in the first half of the 2018 fiscal year, said the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). This massive increase outpaced the deficits over the past few years.
CBO noted the H1 deficit was $78 billion lower at the same point in 2017. That year, the entire deficit amounted to $666 billion, which was only 11% higher than the amount the U.S. government had to borrow in the first half of 2018.
The fast-rising deficit expanded as government expenditures grew 2.5 times faster than revenues, which many experts said is the inevitable outcome of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act. On the revenue side, the GOP tax reforms reduced individual tax revenue, and slashed corporate tax revenue by $22 billion, or 22 percent.
On the spending side, Social Security outlays jumped $19 billion, or four percent. On the other hand, interest payments on debt rose to $18 billion, or 12 percent. Disaster relief efforts caused Homeland Security to boost spending by $14 billion, a 56 percent increase. Defense spending also rose $12 billion, or a four percent increase.
Budget-watchers on both sides previously and stridently warned the combination of the massive, unfunded tax cut the GOP passed in 2017 and a spending deal that greatly exceeded preset budget caps will cause the U.S. deficit to increase to more than $1 trillion by 2019.
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