The U.S. Treasury reported this afternoon that the budget deficit through the first 10 months of fiscal 2018 was $685 billion, an almost 21 percent increase over the same period last year.
For all of 2018, Treasury is estimating that the deficit will be about $849 billion, 27 percent higher than 2017.
These numbers aren’t a surprise. The combination of lower revenues from the tax cut, higher interest payments on the national debt, increased Pentagon spending and no spending restraint anywhere else made the Trump spike in the budget deficit a certainty.
What is surprising is that no one in the Trump administration — not Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, not National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, not Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett and not Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — have so far even bothered to issue a vanilla statement about the Treasury’s numbers.
Given Trump’s promise during the campaign not just to balance the budget but to pay down the national debt, I would have expected at least a pro forma statement from someone in the administration saying that the deficit increase is terrible and that the government’s red ink will be coming down very soon.
Instead, the White House seems to be ignoring these new numbers in the hope that a Friday-afternoon-in-August-when-Congress-is-in-recess Treasury release will be ignored.
Follow Stan Collender on Twitter @thebudgetguy