Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate Majority Leader, is blaming the massive federal budget deficit of more than $779 billion on middle-class and poor Americans. At the same time, McConnell threatened to balance the budget by slashing these social safety nets vital to tens of millions of Americans.
The deficit is the highest since 2012. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects the budget deficit will balloon to over $1 trillion in the 2019 fiscal year, and will continue growing indefinitely. Most experts agree the deficit was caused by the Republican Party’s budget-killing Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
McConnell, however, blamed the massive deficit, on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. He effectively accused middle-class and poor Americans that hardly benefited from the law for this fiasco. McConnell made no mention of this Republican-backed law that overwhelmingly benefited the rich and increased military spending for the deficit. Analysts estimate the tax cuts will cost the federal government more than $2.3 trillion over 10 years.
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Senate’s top Democrat, immediately blasted McConnell for blaming non-rich Americans. “To now suggest cutting earned middle-class programs like Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid as the only fiscally responsible solution to solve the debt problem is nothing short of gaslighting.”
Economists said such a massive increase is unheard of in a strong economy with robust job growth and low unemployment. The federal deficits will increase the national debt to nearly $29 trillion by 2028 from almost $16 trillion today.
The Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington D.C.,-based think tank, called the huge deficit “a wake-up call” for policymakers to turn things around. It said the fact the federal government is closing in on trillion-dollar deficits in the midst of an economic expansion should be a serious issue for voters and candidates. America’s booming economy hasn’t boosted government revenues, contrary to Republican claims.
Much of the huge deficit was the result of more spending on interest payments on the national debt. Borrowing has also risen over the past year to make-up for slower growth in tax revenues that resulted from the tax cuts. The unnecessary boost to military spending worsened this scenario.
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