Only in America could this good news-bad news-worse news combo occur.
The good news is that the federal government’s tax revenue for the first four months of the budget year, October 2019 through January, is up 6 percent from the year before.
The bad news is that the government’s spending for the same period is up 10 percent — a lot more than the revenue increase.
To put those figures into dollars, tax revenue for the first four months was a record $1.18 trillion. Unfortunately, the spending for that period was also a record: $1.57 trillion, or about $389 billion more than revenues.
But the worst news of all, even though it’s not really a surprise, is that the feds appear to be on track to spend $1 trillion more than it takes in this year.
Such a $1 trillion deficit has not occurred since 2009 through 2012, when the Great Recession knocked a hole in tax revenue and when spending increased for corporate bailouts and safety net programs.
There’s no such excuse now. The economy is a lot stronger. Unemployment is at a 50-year low. Tax revenues have never been higher.
In the good old days, times like these are when the budget would be balanced. The difference is that nobody in today’s executive or legislative branch cares. Democrats long ago abandoned any pretense of fiscal sanity, but it’s a shame to see Republicans doing the same thing.