National debt tops $22 trillion for first time in U.S. history (CBS News link): The U.S. national debt has topped $22 trillion for the first time in history, according to daily figures released by the Treasury Department on Tuesday. The debt has ballooned by more than $2 trillion in the two years since President Trump took office in January 2017, when the debt stood at $19.9 trillion. It surpassed $21 trillion for the first time in history in March 2018. Under the Obama administration, the national debt grew from $10.6 trillion to $19.9 trillion, an increase that drew sharps criticism from Republicans.
"I don't know, you know, I wasn't there, I read about some of this — I think what he was really referring to was he would stop the upward rise as a burden on the economy," Kudlow said in January. "In other words, to me, the measure is not, what is the deficit or this or that. It's as a share of GDP. That's your burden on the economy. And I would argue that it is and will continue to come down as a burden on the economy."
But the ratio of debt-to-GDP has also increased, something that's unusual in a strong economy. In June 2018, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report that the level of debt as a share of GDP had reached its highest levels since World War II.
The Treasury Department said Tuesday that the deficit for the first four months of this budget year, which began Oct. 1, totaled $310.3 billion. That's up from a deficit of $175.7 billion in the same period a year ago. The surplus in January was $8.7 billion.
Revenue, however, is up is in tariffs — border taxes collected on imports — which totaled $25 billion in the October-January period, up 91 percent from the same period a year ago. This reflects the higher tariffs the Trump administration has imposed on China and other nations in various trade disputes.
It happened when the Treasury, the official keeper of Washington’s financial results, issued its monthly statement for the first 10 months of fiscal 2018 about federal revenue, spending and, therefore, the budget deficit.
To avoid tough questions and politically embarrassing votes, the House and Senate have even refused to consider a budget even though they are required by law to adopt one. But this year isn’t the real issue. Unlike the trillion dollar budget deficits that occurred during the Obama administration that were temporary and largely the result of the Great Recession, the Trump deficits that will soon reach and exceed $1 trillion are permanent and will only get worse in the years ahead.
The Trump deficits are the result of changes in federal spending and revenue that will continue to be in place until some president and Congress decide to reverse them, that is, to increase taxes and make cuts to popular programs.